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John Downman

Old Mrs Soane


Inscription: M.S./ ÆT 84 [Martha Soane aged 84; right hand side]
Inscription: J Downman / 1796 [lower right side]

Museum number: P296

Curatorial note

Portrait of Sir John Soane's mother, Martha Marcy (1713–1800) at the age of 84. She is dressed in black (she was a widow) but wearing a white mob cap and fichu and fawn leather gloves.

There is no known portrait of Soane's father, John Soan (1714–1768). In 1784, some time after his father's death, Soane changed his surname to Soane, adding the last 'e' as part of a deliberate programme of self-improvement.


J. Soane, Description, 1832, p.xii
Helen Dorey, 'The Historic Framing and presentation of watercolours, drawings and prints at Sir John's Museum', in ed. Nancy Bell, Historic Framing and Presentation of Watercolours and Prints, Proceedings of the Conference of the Institute of Paper Conservation June 1996, pp. 20-31

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