The Story Behind the Space: Sir John Soane’s Museum

opulent dining room with dining table and red walls.
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For our next Story Behind the Space piece, we explore the creative and eclectic Sir John Soane’s Museum.

HeadBox Connect brings people from different roles, backgrounds and sectors together to share learning and experiences. From entrepreneurs, technologists and scientists to journalists, authors and futurists, the goal of HeadBox Connect is to help promote positive change in our industry and day-to-day roles. 

We believe one of the best ways to accomplish this is through connecting with other people at exciting and inspiring events. We recently had our first HeadBox Connect dinner at Sir John Soane’s Museum. We spoke to Diana West, Corporate and Events Manager of Sir John Soane’s, to get the details on this amazing Space.

1. Who was Sir John Soane and why is there a museum named after him?

Room with museum artefacts.
Photo: Stefan Jakubowski

The Soane Museum is the extraordinary house of Sir John Soane, one of the greatest English architects, who built and lived in it more than a century-and-a-half ago. Soane was also an eager art collector. He built the Bank of England and Dulwich Picture Gallery, as well as his own extraordinary home, by buying, demolishing and rebuilding three houses in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

In 1833, he negotiated an Act of Parliament to preserve his house and collection–exactly as it would be at the time of his death–and to keep it open and free for inspiration and education.

Today, the Museum continues to offer free access to visitors, just as Soane intended. We host thought-provoking exhibitions, run inspiring events and maintain a rich research library.

2. What’s the story behind Sir John Soane’s?

Room with museum artefacts and ancient statues.
Photo: Stefan Jakubowski

Sir John Soane’s Museum has been kept as it was at the time of his death nearly 180 years ago. It displays his collection of antiquities, furniture, sculptures, architectural models, paintings (including work by Hogarth, Turner and Canaletto) and over 30,000 architectural drawings.

It’s a vast, extraordinary collection, full of curiosities and surprises. We hope that guests enter this amazing venue curious and leave inspired, as our Founder intended.

3. What is the most unique thing in the Sir John Soane’s Museum?

Square room with paintings on the wall and circular table in the centre.
Photo: Stefan Jakubowski

Everything in the house is unique and special; Sir John Soane called it his laboratory of ideas. Guests love the Picture Room, with its movable panels that unveil unexpected works of art. This small room contains more than 100 paintings.

4. What is your favourite piece within the Museum?

Room with museum artefacts and candles.
Photo: Stefan Jakubowski

The greatest treasure in the Museum and my favourite object is the sarcophagus of the Egyptian Pharoah Seti I. It is carved from a single block of alabaster and the surface is inscribed with the text of the ancient Egyptian Book of Gates.

Soane acquired it in 1824 when the British Museum declined to purchase it from its discoverer. It is an exquisite and astonishing work of art, found deep in the basement of the Museum.

“The tour was just fantastic and I want to go back and see more. Zafferano’s catering was so creative, fun and delicious and what a lovely mix of people to chat to. Sadly, I didn’t manage to meet them all but I had such a brilliant evening – it was perfect.” – Faye Merrick, Hogan Lovells

5. Why does Sir John Soane’s make a great event venue?

Dining table with guests seated having dinner.
Photo: Stefan Jakubowski

Visiting Sir John Soane’s Museum means stepping into the mind of a genius and exploring his ideas. When hosting a dinner or a drinks reception in the Museum, guests have the opportunity to immerse themselves in an experience that stimulates the mind and the senses.

Our clients say hosting an event at this unique house leaves them and their guests feeling inspired to think creatively and wanting to learn more about Soane and his eclectic collection.

6. How can people support Sir John Soane’s Museum other than hosting their events in the space?

Waiter holding tray of cocktails.
Photo: Stefan Jakubowski

By joining our robust and interesting patrons programme, which hosts events all year round, not only at the Museum but at other interesting cultural venues with access to pre-opening exhibitions and exclusive tours.

7. What brilliant things have happened within the Space?

From hosting the launch of Manolo Blahnik’s first men’s collection through to the filming of Transformers 5 and small intimate dinners for up to 30 people, the Sir John Soane’s Museum has been the venue for a host of fantastic and diverse events.

8. What’s next for Sir John Soane’s Museum?

Collaborations with contemporary artists such as Marc Queen and architects such as Eric Parry to host modern and relevant exhibitions. From October 2019 to January 2020, a major exhibition will reunite the greatest works of British painter and engraver William Hogarth (1697-1764). We will be offering complimentary tours of this exhibition when clients book a dinner at the museum.

For more information on this amazing Space, check our their HeadBox listing here

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