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Soane’s Favourite Subject: The Story of Dulwich Picture Gallery

Soane’s Favourite Subject: The Story of Dulwich Picture Gallery


The most individual English architect since Vanbrugh, Sir John Soane was a Romantic classicist, known for his experimental interest in effects of light and space. Dulwich Picture Gallery is one of the few intact creations of his genius, not only remarkably preserved but still serving the function for which it was built, as a picture gallery (as such highly influential ever since). 

This book for the first time brings together and orders the numerous surviving drawings, watercolours and documents relating to the building (many unpublished), providing a paradigmatic case history of relations between client, architect and the place itself. This is essential source material for any student not only of Soane and his period but of the evolution of architecture more widely. Not least, it enables the reader to follow through Soane’s creative decisions, envisaging, as he did, hundreds of other buildings that he might have created and appreciating how deeply he considered his final decisions. 

The book also includes details of the additions to Dulwich Picture Gallery by James Barrie and (very recently) Rick Mather architects. 

  • Francesco Nevola

    By Francesco Nevola

    Introduction by Desmond Shawe-Taylor


    March 2003

    212 pages, hardback, 200 x 250 mm

    175 colour, 20 b/w illus.
    ISBN: 9781898519164

  • About the authors

    Francesco Nevola is a freelance researcher.


    Desmond Shawe-Taylor was formerly Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, London.

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