Cover image for John Soane : an accidental romantic
John Soane : an accidental romantic
Darley, Gillian.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven ; London : Yale University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 358 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 26 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA997.S7 D27 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



English architect John Soane created dramatic and unpredictable buildings that continue to inspire architects worldwide. This biography tells the story of the self-made, irascible architect's turbulent life and the remarkable buildings he designed, including the Bank of England.

Author Notes

Gillian Darley is a writer, broadcaster and prize-winning journalist, a former architectural correspondent of the Observer and Director of the Landscape Foundation until 1998. She is currently Chairman of the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings. Her first degree was in History of Art, her second in Politics and Administration, a particularly apt preparation for writing the life of John Soane, an ambition ever since her first visit to his astonishing house in Lincoln's Inn Fields as a student.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Sir John Soane (1753-1837) is not an unknown architect; there have been numerous well-illustrated studies, particularly in the past 40 years, by such scholars as John Summerson, Dorothy Stroud, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, and Pierre du Prey. Soane is currently the subject of a major exhibition at the Royal Academy, London (John Soane, Architect: Master of Space and Light, ed. by Margaret Richardson and MaryAnne Stevens, 1999). Best known for his very original, neoclassical, light-filled buildings in London, including the Bank of England (much of which has been destroyed), the Art Gallery at Dulwich College (not only the first purpose-built art gallery in England but still considered a model for art galleries worldwide), and for his idiosyncratic house-museum. Darley, known for her excellent Villages of Vision (CH, Jan'77), a study of ideal English communities, now offers the first complete biography of the architect, including a discussion of his many character defects and horrible relations with his children and other relatives, ignored or suppressed by earlier writers. She frankly admits that it is a biography, not an architectural monograph. However, it is a complete study of his life. Darley also contributed to the Royal Academy catalog essays on Soane's early life and travels. General readers; upper-division undergraduate and graduate students. T. J. McCormick; Wheaton College (MA)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgementsp. vi
1 Beginningsp. 1
2 To Rome and Naplesp. 21
3 Sicily, Rome and Home Againp. 43
4 Returnp. 56
5 Establishedp. 76
6 Lincoln's Inn Fieldsp. 97
7 The Assault on Westminsterp. 117
8 Disappointments and Achievementsp. 139
9 The Pitshanger Dreamp. 150
10 The Royal Academy and other Businessp. 169
11 'The Rough Storm of Life'p. 179
12 Pleasures and Troublesp. 198
13 Reconciliation and Deathp. 216
14 The Year of Misery and Beyondp. 238
15 Paris and Londonp. 253
16 Polishing and Purchasingp. 266
17 Westminster at Lastp. 287
18 Strange Workp. 299
Postscriptp. 324
Bibliographical Abbreviationsp. 328
Notesp. 329
Indexp. 347
Photographic Acknowledgementsp. 358