Two very different exhibitions are at Sir John Soane’s Museum at the moment, both taking a look at topics that interested the man who lived here.

One is a reinterpretation of Hogarth’s famous allegory sketches of a rich man who falls into ruin, A Rake’s Progress, which is owned by the museum, and are usually on display for a short time most days.

Ceramic artist, Bouke de Vries has created eight vases in progressive states of damage representing Tom Rakewell’s slow downfall as his life gets increasingly worse for wear. Dotted around the base of the vases are the inscriptions from Hogarth’s original sketches. As a collection, it’s an interesting way of interpreting the tale of a man’s downfall, although it does rather help if you know what the story is before visiting the museum.

Upstairs, in the museum’s main exhibition rooms is a totally different exhibition – looking at architecture.

A collection of drawings and sketches looks at five very different buildings that can be found in London – William Morris’s Red House, Ernö Goldfinger’s 2 Willow Road, Charles Jencks’ The Cosmic House, Patty and Michael Hopkins’ Hopkins House, and Sarah Wigglesworth’s 9/10 Stock Orchard Street.

As a display, it ranges from the architect’s drawings right down to, in some cases at least, samples of the wallpaper printed for the house in question.

There’s quite a lot to see here, and the range, from William Morris through to modernist and post-modernist is eclectic, but coming across strongly in all of them is the attention to detail in the final designs.

The exhibition, Architects’ Houses is open until 3rd September 2023 while, Visions in Porcelain: A Rake’s Progress is open until 10th September 2023.

Both are free to visit, as is the Sir John Soane Museum.

The museum is open Wed to Sun from 10am to 5pm.

It’s particularly good to visit on Thur or Sat about 1pm, as you may be able to reserve one of just six tickets to visit the Drawing Room as well.

Note, because of the cramped spaces within the rest of the museum, they prefer no bags, and if bags are carried, to be very small.


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