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image P228

William Owen (1769 - 1825)

Portrait of Sir John Soane, 1804

1804

Oil on canvas

Height: 122.6cm
Width: 98cm

Museum number: P228

Curatorial note

Portrait of John Soane at the age of 51. Here Soane is portrayed as a cultivated architect at the height of his professional success. Seated in an armchair (still in the collection but now upholstered in black) he is surrounded by the tools of his profession including an ink stand and quiill pen. His hair is powdered in line with 18th century fashion (later in life he wore a brown wig, as in the portrait by Thomas Lawrence SM P11). The volume on his lap, Antoine Desgodetz' Les édifices antiques de Rome, probably in the English translation by George Marshall (1771), is open to reveal an engraved plan and elevation of his favourite ancient Roman building, the circular Temple of Vesta at Tivoli.

This portrait was commissioned by Soane along with another of his two sons John and George. The two hang together in the South Drawing Room.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Commissioned by Soane and paid for in November 1804. Exhibited Royal Academy 1805, no. 35.

Literature

Soane, Description, 1830, pp.22 and 42
Soane, Description, 1835, p.74
The Diary of Joseph Farington, Vol VII, p. 2516
New Description, 2007, pg. 76 and 98

Exhibition history

Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1805

Associated objects

P229, pair
XF87, depicted


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk