The Soane Museum

One of the most magical and intimate museums in London. The architect Sir John Soane’s house, museum and library at No. 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields has been a public museum since the early 19th century. Soane demolished and rebuilt three houses in succession and arranged the antiques, casts and models in his houses for the public to visit. His aim was to bring the Grand Tour to London, presenting a personal collection of artefacts from his own travels to educate architecture students who could not make the pilgrimage in person, informing Britain’s own neo-classical experiments in architecture.

The result is a wealth of treasures packed floor-to-ceiling. Every capital, column or frieze balances its neighbours, every marble bust or growling lion responds to another, all picked out in shafts of natural light that creep through windows above . In the middle, this portrait bust of Soane keeps an eye on it all.