1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Soane, Sir John

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SOANE, SIR JOHN (1753–1837), English architect and art collector, was born near Reading of a humble family whose name of Swan he afterwards altered to Soan or Soane. His talent as a boy attracted the attention of George Dance, junior, the architect, who with other friends helped him on. He won the Royal Academy's silver (1772) and gold (1776) medals, and a travelling studentship, and went to Italy to study (1777–1780). Returning to England he got into practice as an architect, and in 1784 married a rich wife. He became architect to the Bank of England, which he practically rebuilt in its present form, and did other important public work. He became an A.R.A in 1795, and R.A. in 1802, and professor of architecture to the Royal Academy in 1806. In 1831 he was knighted. In his house in Lincoln's Inn Fields he brought together a valuable antiquarian museum (now the Soane Museum) , which in 1835 he presented to the nation with an endowment; and there he died in 1837. (See Museums.)