Fanciful Figures: Curator’s Lecture by Dr Frances Sands, Tuesday 23 April, 18.30

Regular price $16.00

Join us for an introductory lecture by Frances Sands, curator of our new exhibition.

She will explore in greater depth the subject of staffage figures in architectural drawings: the best and comically worst examples, their purpose, their beauty and whimsey. She’ll explore where this concept originated and how the use of figures in architectural drawings developed in early modern Britain. She’ll consider a number of works included in the exhibition, as well as a selection of further examples from Soane's collection which couldn’t be shoe-horned into it. This will be followed by an ‘In Conversation’ to further explore the subject between Frances Sands and Will Gompertz, our new Deborah Loeb Brice Director.

About the speakers

Dr Frances Sands is Curator of Drawings and Books at Sir John Soane's Museum. She has worked at rhe Museum since 2010, first as Catalogue Editor, tasked with cataloguing the office drawings collection of Robert and James Adam – a vast project which is still ongoing. In 2016 she was appointed the Curator of Drawings and Books, taking responsibility for the Soane Museum’s wider collection of 30,000 drawings and 7,000 books. She has curated various exhibitions and publishes and lectures widely. Since 2010, Fran has also served as a Trustee of the York Georgian Society, the Mausolea and Monuments Trust, the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, and sat on the advisory committee for the Grinling Gibbons Society’s Tercentenary exhibition.

Will Gompertz took up his position as Deborah Loeb Brice Director of Sir John Soane’s Museum in January, 2024. Prior to that, he was Artistic Director of the Barbican, helping reopen the Centre after the pandemic, and where he was responsible for a bold, diverse programme, from presenting the 2022 World Premier of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s My Neighbour Totoro - which broke all Barbican box-office records - to the critically acclaimed exhibition Differently Various, made in collaboration with the brain injury charity Headway East, London. Prior to the Barbican, Will was the BBC’s Arts Editor for eleven years, during which time he reported regularly and widely across the arts and culture. He has interviewed countless architects, artists, actors, writers, musicians and directors, as well as writing and presenting documentaries for BBC One and Two, and hosting shows on Radio 2, Radio 4, and BBC 5-Live. Will spent seven years as a director of the Tate Galleries where he was responsible for its BAFTA-winning website, creative direction, and the launching of the UK’s first Performance Art festival. Will has written two internationally best-selling books: What Are You Looking At? (2012) and Think Like an Artist (2015). Earlier this year Penguin published his latest book, See What You’re Missing. Will has lectured on the arts and creativity nationally and internationally, including giving talks at the Museum of Modern Art, V&A, National Gallery, Picasso Museum, Louvre Museum, Royal Academy, and Oxford and Cambridge Universities – he has participated in all four seasons of the Soane Museum’s ‘By Design’ talks.

About the Event

Doors will open at 18.30 for an exhibition viewing. The talk takes place in the Library Dining Room from 19.00, and there will be further opportunity to view the exhibition after the event. Please enter via Number 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields where we will have a list of names on the door. Your confirmation email serves as your ticket. 

We are in a Grade I listed, 19th-century building, so access is not always straightforward. If you require step-free access or extra assistance, please contact us in advance of your booking on or 020 7405 2107.


Image: Soane office & att. Antonio Van Assen, Royal Academy exhibition drawing showing the Tivoli Corner, Bank of England, as built, 1807

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