Sir John Soane (1753–1836), RA

Image credit: RIBA Collections

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John Soane (1753–1837) was the most brilliant architectural innovator of his day. His remarkable ability to adapt and modernise the language of classical architecture has proved to be a lasting influence, particularly in the late twentieth century. In his own day, he was on a level with leading European Neoclassicists, such as Ledoux and Schinkel. The demolition of his Bank of England in London was probably the single worst architectural disaster in Britain of the last century. He was a prolific designer of public buildings, churches, town and country houses. In 1834 he was the natural choice to become the first president of the Royal Institute of British Architects but as the rules of the Royal Academy then forbade its members joining other artists’ organisations, he refused, sending instead a gift of 1,000 guineas and this portrait, a copy of the painting by Sir Thomas Lawrence that still hangs in Soane’s house in Lincoln's Inn Fields.

The Royal Institute of British Architects



Sir John Soane (1753–1836), RA




oil on canvas


H 144.6 x W 111 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

presented by the sitter, 1836

Work type



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Normally on display at

The Royal Institute of British Architects

66 Portland Place, London, Greater London W1B 1AD England

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