Soane’s Library consists of just over 6,000 titles, and is the only surviving professional library of an architect in the early 19th century. Regarded as the father of the architectural profession in Britain by the end of his life, Soane was Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy, and to some extent evolved his collections as a teaching tool for architectural students, including the young men in his own office.
Well known as a connoisseur and collector, Soane was also interested in technical innovation, all of which is reflected in his Library. Novels, travel books, cookery, gardening, religion and politics are all represented. Exceptionally, not only are the books preserved in their original setting, but also the sale catalogues, receipts, booksellers’ lists and prospectuses which underpin the Library, enabling us to say, in the case of many books, when and where Soane purchased them and for how much.
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