This new exhibition to coincide with the 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death will look at the influence of the playwright on the life and work of sir John Soane. 


Opening on the 21st April, the exhibition will focus on Soane’s extensive Shakespeare collection – such as his ownership of the first four Folios of Shakespeare’s collected works, the way Soane and his family participated in the eighteenth century Shakespearean revival, and the influence of the Bard on Soane’s architecture.

All of the objects selected for the exhibition will showcase Soane’s interest in the playwright, while against the background of the Shakespearian revival during the 18th century.

The first room of the display will introduce the 400th anniversary, by putting it into context with the 200th anniversary in 1816, discussing the ntersection between literature and architecture with a particular focus on David Garrick, the celebrated actor-manager of the Drury Lane Theatre who was so instrumental in the popularisation of Shakespeare in Georgian London.

Meanwhile, the exhibition will then examine the playwright’s influence on Soane’s architectural imagination, before finishing with a selection of Soane’s large-scale Royal Academy lecture drawings.

Helen Dorey, Acting Director of Sir John Soane’s Museum says: “Soane’s collections of Shakespeare related material has never before been drawn together to provide a cohesive study of how Shakespeare influenced Soane and I am delighted that we are taking the opportunity to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of a man whose status as the greatest English literary genius was celebrated by Sir John Soane in so many ways in his Museum. ”

The Cloud-Capped Towers’: Shakespeare in Soane’s Architectural Imagination will be on display at the Sir John Soane’s Museum from the 21st April until the 8th October 2016. Entry to the exhibition is free.