Friday, 27 September 2013

Bad news, and good

Only known drawing of Soane's proposed house at Burn Hall, a plan showing the room layouts.  Image courtesy of Christie's
Picture: Soane Museum
The National Trust turned down the opportunity to acquire the house of former President of the Royal Academy Sir Albert Richardson with its fascinating collection, which has now been sold at Christie's. The National Trust used to acquire historic buildings, which it held in trust and preserved for posterity. Now it organises tours of the Big Brother house, perhaps to thwart anyone hoping to parody their race to the furthest depths of moronic populism. It's something to do with 'debating the meaning of heritage', apparently

The good news is that Sir John Soane's Museum bought some Soane drawings at the sale. The Soane is a wonderfully eccentric museum in the great architect's own townhouse with some first rate pictures, including two of Canaletto's masterpieces. It also has a magnificent library in the house next door, including much of Soane's work and many other drawings by architects and by old masters. I spent some days there a few years ago going through their Robert Adam drawings - most of his extant drawings are at the Soane. There's no better home for Richardson's Soane drawings. 

I'm just heading up north to see some of Adam's country houses, followed by cycling in the Pennines and then returning home via the Barber Institute in Birmingham, getting back on Monday evening for Artwatch's James Beck Memorial Lecture. It will take my mind of the National Trust's depravity.

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