Soane Museum Study Group- Sue Palmer

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The Soane Museum Study Group is an open forum for scholars – both established and emerging – to present new research into an aspect of architectural history and/or Soane’s collection.

Sue Palmer - Lights out over Europe : The Soane Museum in World War One

This paper will look at how World War One affected Sir John Soane’s Museum. Using the Curator’s diaries, minutes of Trustee meetings and other material from the Museum’s Archive, it will cover the protective measures taken against the then novel threat of attack from the air and the decisions taken as to which items in the collection should be sent away for safekeeping, initially to the Royal Academy in Piccadilly, where they were stored in a vault under Gallery 1, and towards the end of the war to the Post Office Tube, where they joined works of art from other London collections such as the British Museum, the Wallace Collection and the National Portrait Gallery. The human story of what life was like for the Curator (pictured above) and other members of staff will also be told, with rationing, blackout, financial and other restrictions, not to speak of the constant threat of air-raids and the morale-sapping evidence of the damage suffered by buildings in the neighbourhood of the Museum. Finally, it will look at the process of restoring the Museum displays at the end of the war.

Sue Palmer has been Archivist to Sir John Soane’s Museum for almost thirty years. She is the author of At Home with the Soanes: Upstairs, Downstairs in 19th Century London, and a number of articles about the work of Sir John Soane and the history of Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

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Tuesday 25 September – 6.00pm drinks for 6.30-7.30pm lecture

On arrival please come to no. 14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The door will open at 6.00pm

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