Exhibition Preview: Inspired by Soane
Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, UK
10th September to 1st October 2010
By Guy Sangster Adams
Damien Hirst, Vivienne Westwood, Richard Rogers, Tracy Emin, Grayson Perry, Manolo Blahnik, and Daniel Libeskind, are amongst the host of contemporary artists, architects, and designers (a full list follows at the foot of this article) who have been inspired by Sir John Soane’s Museum and have contributed original artworks to an exhibition and ‘blind sale’, Inspired by Soane. They join generations upon generations who have been similarly inspired.
One hundred and seventy-five years ago, Issac D’Israeli, the British writer, scholar, man of letters, and father of the British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, wrote an evocative letter to the architect Sir John Soane about how inspiring the museum he had created within his home was. “Your Museum is permanently magical, for the enchantments of art are eternal,” he wrote, “some in poems have raised fine architectural edifices, but most rare have been those who have discovered when they had finished their house, if such a house can ever be said to be finished, that they had built a poem. All this you have accomplished…What the nation wanted your hand has bestowed.”
Between 1792 and 1824, Soane demolished and rebuilt three houses, numbers 12-14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, ultimately creating what is now 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Through the success of his architectural practice, Soane was able to build incredible collections of books, paintings, sculpture, antiquities, furniture, timepieces, and architectural models, drawings, and salvage. These collection include Egyptian, Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance antiquities, such as the sarcophagus of Seti I, and Roman bronzes from Pompeii, Neo-Classical sculpture, paintings by Canaletto, J.M.W. Turner, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and Hogarth’s The Rake’s Progress and An Election.
In 1806 when he was appointed Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy, Soane proposed opening his house for the use of Royal Academy students the day before and the day after each of his lectures to view his collections, and began to arrange his collections accordingly. In 1833 he negotiated an Act of Parliament to settle and preserve the house and collection for the benefit of ‘amateurs and students’ in architecture, painting and sculpture. The Act came into force on his death in 1837, since when the Museum’s Trustees have continued to uphold Soane’s aims and objectives, and generations of people have continued to be inspired by his collections, and by Soane.
Inspired by Soane brings together the 208 pieces created by artists, architects, and designers in the UK and USA, who this summer were sent blank, framed cards and invited to create an original work celebrating the museum. The works will all be displayed anonymously and visitors to the exhibition will be offered the chance to buy a £200 ticket which enters them into a draw which guarantees ownership of one of the pieces on view. Though no one will know which piece they have ‘bought’ until an official adjudicated draw takes place at a fund-raising gala held at The Banqueting House on 7th October 2010. The monies raised by Inspired by Soane will go towards Opening up the Soane, a £7M project to restore, refurbish, and improve the Museum.
FULL LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS TO INSPIRED BY SOANE:
A EUGENE KOHN, ADAM CARUSO, ADAM KOSSOFF, ALAN DODD, ALAN POWERS, ALEC COBBE, ALEXIS HARDING, ALI KEPENEK, ALISTAIR BOWES AND KIRSTEN MAVRIC, ALLEGRA HICKS, ANDREW BARROW, ANDREW LAWSON, ANDREW LOGAN, ANDY DAVEY, ANNE-MARIE CREAMER, ANTHONY GORMLEY, ANTONIO SANTACROCE, ANTONY POWELL, ARABELLA BROOKE, BARBARA FRANCIS, BEN DE LISI, BILLIE TSIEN, BIRCH COFFEY, CAMERON MACTAVISH, CAROLINE BULLOCK, CELIA BIRTWELL, CELIA PAUL, CERITH WYN EVANS, CHARLOTTE CORY, CHARLOTTE HODES, CHARLOTTE VERITY, CHRIS RIDDELL, CHRIS WILKINSON, CHRISTINA NIEDEBERGER, CHRISTOPHE EGRET, CHRISTOPHER BAILEY, CHRISTOPHER J HOBBS, CHRISTOPHER LE BRUN, CORINNE NOBLE, CRAIG HAMILTON, DAMIEN HIRST, DAN CRUICKSHANK, MARENKA GABELEN, DAN PEARSON, DANIEL LIBESKIND, DAVID BARBARINO, DAVID DOWNTON, DAVID GENTLEMAN, DAVE BROWN, DAVID HARRISON, DAVID KOHN,DERRY MOORE, DON CAMPBELL, DOUG PATTERSON, EVA JIRICNA, FLO BAYLEY, FRANCIS TERRY, GEORGE CARTER, GEORGE SAUMAREZ SMITH, GEORGINA BARCLAY, GRAHAM RUST, GRAYSON PERRY, GREG ROOK, HENRY HUDSON, HUGH BUCHANAN, IAN HISLOP, IGNACIO VALDES, INGRAM PINN, IRAIDA ICAZA, ISAAC JULIEN, IVAN CHERMAYEFF, JAMES WILLIS, JAMIE FOBERT, JANE BUSH, JANE WILDGOOSE, JANEY SHARRATT, JINNY BLOM, JOEL BARKLEY, JOHN BRIDGES, JOHN GUNTER, JOHN MADDISON, JOHN OUTRAM, JOHN SOANE, JONATHON COLEMAN, JULIA CONDON, JULIAN BARROW, JULIAN HARRAP, KEITH MILOW, LANGLANDS AND BELL, LEWIS BUSH, LINDA ALOYSIUS, LINDA KARSHAN, LOUIS HELLMAN, LUCIANNE LASSALLE, LUCY DE ALBUQUERQUE, LUKE MOLONEY,LUTZ BECKER, LYALL THOW, MAGGI HAMBLING, MANOLO BLAHNIK, MARCOS LUTYENS, MARGARET MORGAN, MARIA CHEVSKA, MARK ADLINGTON, MARTIN E BATES, MARTIN GUSTAVSSON, MATTHEW RICE, MICHAEL CRAIG-MARTIN, MICHAEL FLEISHER, MICHAEL GRAVES, MICHAEL PETRY, MICHAEL WOLFSON, MILES THISTLETHWAITE, MONIKA VERIOPOULOS, MUSEUM CLAUSUM, NATASHA MORLAND, NATHALIE HAMBRO, NICK FOX, NICKY HASLAM, NICOLA GREEN, NICOLE HEIDARIPOUR, OLIVER BEER, ORIEL HARWOOD, PAUL COLDWELL, PAUL RYAN, PAUL SMITH, PETER BROOKES, PETER RICE, PETER SCHRANK, PETER SHEPPARD, PHILIP NOBLE, PHILIPPA STOCKLEY, PIERS GOUGH, POLLY HOPE, QUINLAN TERRY, RACHEL HOWARD, REBECCA JOHN, RENATO BENEDETTI, RICHARD DYER, RICHARD SAMMONS, RICHARD ROGERS, RICHARD SHIRLEY SMITH, RICHARD WALKER, ROBERT ADAM, ROBERT FRANKLIN, ROBERT VENTURI, ROBERTO EKHOLM, ROBIN VAN NUTT, ROBIN WYATT,RONALD SEARLE, ROY OSBORNE, RUI PAES, RUSSELL TAYLOR, SARAH ARMSTRONG-JONES, SARAH JANE MCCLELLAND, SCOTT CLISSOLD, SIMON HURST-, STEPHEN CALLOWAY, STEPHEN COX, STUART WREDE, SUE ELSDEN, SUE WILLMINGTON, SUSAN BARNET, TADAO ANDO, TERESA ALBOR, TERRY FARRELL, TERRY GILLIAM, THERESE OULTON, THOMAS GORDON SMITH, THOMAS JAYNE, THOMAS KLIGERMAN, TIM GOODCHILD, TIM GOSLING, TIM HUNKIN, TIM KNOX, TODD LONGSTAFFE, TODD WILLIAMS, TRACY EMIN, TUCKER & MARKS INC, VESNA AKSENTIJEVIC, VIVIENNE WESTWOOD, WALTER CHATHAM, WILL ALSOP, WILLY SPILLER, YOLANDA SONNABEND.