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John Soane

Sir John Soane (1753 - 1837) was a British architect who specialised in the Neo-Classical tradition. He was born at Goring-on-Thames near Reading, the son of a bricklayer, and trained as an architect, first under George Dance the Younger, and then Henry Holland, whilst also studying at the Royal Academy Schools, which he entered in 1771. In 1778, during his studies at the Royal Academy, Soane was awarded a travelling scholarship, which he spent on developing his style in Italy.

When in Rome, Soane met the builder and Bishop of Derry Frederick Hervey, whom he accompanied to Ireland. However, he failed to find work there, so returned to England in 1780 and settled in East Anglia where he established a small architectural practice.

In 1788, he became Architect and Surveyor to the Bank of England, the exterior of the Bank being his most famous work. The job, and especially the personal contacts arising from it, increased the success of Soane's practice , and he became ARA in 1795, then full RA in 1802. He was made Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy in 1809, which he held until death. Then, in 1814, he was appointed to the Board of Works, where he remained until 1832, when he retired.

Among Soane's works are the dining rooms of both numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Pitshanger Manor in Ealing, and his own house, now the Soane Museum.

In 1832 Soane received a knighthood, and in 1833 obtained an Act of Parliament, by which his house was made a national museum of architecture.

Soane died in London in 1837.