The museum is set to welcome visitors back with an exhibition on the watercolours of English artist William Pars.

Opening at the museum on the 19th May, this new exhibition will be displaying a series of powerful and poetic watercolours by the young English artist William Pars (1742-1782) illustrating an expedition to discover the ruins of ancient Ionia (in modern-day Turkey and Greece). 

Created in collaboration with the British Museum, The Romance of Ruins: The Search for Ancient Ionia, 1764 will be released as a digital as well as a physical exhibition to allow more people to experience it.

Featuring 21 watercolours alongside published accounts of the expedition from Sir John Soane’s collection, the display places Pars’s watercolours, some of them exhibited publicly for the first time, in dialogue with the house and collection of the architect Sir John Soane, shedding new light on Soane’s relationship with the ancient world and on the 18th-century fascination with ruins.

Curator of Exhibitions at Sir John Soane’s Museum, Louise Stewart, said: “Sir John Soane’s Museum is delighted that these evocative watercolours from the British Museum are being shown alongside Soane’s own copies of the publications which documented the expedition. Pars’s images of the Ionian ruins represent Enlightenment themes of exploration and discovery and reflect on the passing of the great age of antiquity.”

The exhibition will also be available to view on the Soane Museum’s website, and will have a presence on the Museum’s new guide on the Bloomberg Connects app.

The Romance of Ruins: The Search for Ancient Ionia, 1764 will be on display at Sir John Soane’s Museum from the 19th May until the 5th September.


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