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Housing the New RomansArchitectural Reception and Classical Style in the Modern World$
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Katharine T. von Stackelberg and Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190272333

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190272333.001.0001

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(Re)presenting Romanitas at Sir John Soane’s House and Villa

(Re)presenting Romanitas at Sir John Soane’s House and Villa

(p.24) Chapter 1 (Re)presenting Romanitas at Sir John Soane’s House and Villa
Housing the New Romans

Ann Kuttner

Oxford University Press

This paper considers the houses of Neoclassical British architect Sir John Soane (1753–1837): his famous House Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London; and the considerably less-well known Pitzhanger Manor House, Ealing. With architectural precedents set by Sir Francis Bacon and Lord Burlington, nothing could have been more Roman in Soane and his contemporaries than the conviction that a house and its decor express the persona of the inhabitant. Soane was a working-class Englishman with enormous social and professional ambitions. Both Pitzhanger Manor and the house at Lincoln’s Inn Fields and drew inspiration and showcased materials from Soane’s travels in Italy with Frederick Hervey, Earl-Bishop of Derry and the design of his classicizing estate at Downhill; contemporary excavations at Pompeii and the Villa Negroni; and Soane’s own collection of Classical sculpture, and plaster casts. These houses, with their faux-ruins and talismanic interiors of “Pompeiian red,” were not only dwelling places for Soane and his family, they signaled his gentrification, while simultaneously advertising what he could produce for elite clients. Soane’s interpretation of Classical forms and creation of Neoclassical forms was grounded in archaeological discoveries and a knowledge of Classical antiquity, marking an important distinction between him and many of his contemporaries.

Keywords:   Sir John Soane, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Pitzhanger Manor House, Pompeii, archaeology, Neo-Antique, Neoclassical, “Pompeiian Red”

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