|Pitshanger Manor, Ealing, Greater London|
Soane had a well established practice and had completed most work on his own London home in Lincoln's Inn Fields by 1800. He wanted a villa west of the city where he, his wife and two sons could enjoy country life. He purchased 28 acres for £ 4,500 including an existing house and outbuildings, known as Pitshanger Manor. Eventually, he demolished most of the existing structures, saving only a wing designed by his mentor, architect George Dance, in the 1770's for previous owners. Over the next few years, Soane and his students worked on the house. Almost all of the drawings and receipts for the construction, decoration and furnishing of the house have been preserved in Sir John Soane's Museum.
|Library, Pitshanger Manor|
London has spread out quite a bit and Pitshanger Manor is now in a park in the suburb of Ealing, reachable by the Underground, amidst an affluent bedroom community. In the early 20th century, the building had become the local library, with an addition for additional space. Since the mid-80's, it has been opened to the public and carefully restored to the look of Soane's day, except for the addition which is used for small art exhibitions.
|Breakfast Room., Pitshanger Manor|
|Dulwich Picture Gallery|
In another section of suburban London, the Dulwich Picture Gallery attracts many visitors to its collection of Old Masters. It is Britain's first purpose-built public picture gallery, and Soane's design set the standard for every art museum since. The Picture Gallery is located on the campus of Dulwich College, established in the early 17th century in the village of Dulwich, where it today serves about 1600 boys, ages 7 to 18.
The Picture Gallery came about as a result of several coincidences A London art dealer Noel Desenfans (1745-1807) was asked by the King of Poland to assemble paintings for a national collection in 1790. However, within a few years, Poland had been divided up among Austria, Prussia and Russia. Desenfans tried to sell the collection but met with no success. Therefore he decided, with the help of his friend, Francis
Bourgeois, to set up a public gallery. After his death, Bourgeois willed the collection to Dulwich College. His friend Sir John Soane designed the building, which also includes a mausoleum for Mr. and Mrs. Desenfans and Bourgeois.