David Watkin

Architectural Poetry

Sir John Soane and London


Lund Humphries 248pp £40 order from our bookshop

We think of Soane as a lonely genius, creating eccentric masterpieces of advanced spatial complexity with mysterious top lighting, as in his strange house and museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. In this highly personal and romantic setting, which he formed for himself out of three houses in a curiously convoluted process between the 1790s and the 1820s, he designed his remarkable buildings at the same time as nursing his persecution complex. His wife and elder son predeceased him, and from 1815 he was totally estranged from his younger son, George, who had ridiculed his work and personality in print in that year. The shock of this, so Soane thought, had led to his wife’s premature death within a few weeks. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • One woman 'travelled round the south of India with a retinue of 750 people, fourteen elephants, two racing camels f… ,
    • Stuck for a gift idea for Father's Day? Subscribe to Literary Review and get a FREE copy of 'An Impeccable Spy' –… ,
    • 'Gone. All gone. The ease, the pleasure, the effortless eloquence' From May 1995, Margaret Forster's withering rev… ,
    • RT : SO excited to tell you about this event! 😆 The amazing digital colourist, will be joining w… ,
    • 'Peters was unashamed and evidently unshamable, an impostor who wholly inhabited his fabrications and who indignant… ,
    • ‘At every waking moment Barbara Hepworth was aware of herself as a woman paving the way in a man’s world’ From the… ,
    • The entertaining Howard Jacobson is in conversation with Prof John Mullan at the Queen’s Park Book Festival on Sund… ,