Sir John Soane’s West London Home Restored to Its Former Glory
Pitzhanger Manor, the west London residence of visionary British architect Sir John Soane, has reopened on March 16 after a three-year, nearly $16 million conservation and restoration project. “The manor has undergone many physical changes to bring the architecture and interior back to Soane’s original design,” says John Leslie, curator of Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery Trust.
The celebrated architect, who designed the Bank of England and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, designed and built the country house between 1800 and 1804. Soane designed the impressive manor in a way that would showcase his eclectic collection of art and antiquities
The restoration initiative, led by architects Jestico + Whiles with the support of heritage experts Julian Harrap Architects and a large team of specialist craftspeople, has reinstated important structural elements of Soane’s design, such as a conservatory which was demolished in 1901 and the dramatic central roof light which returns Pitzhanger to the silhouette Soane intended.
Soane’s original intricate paint schemes, which were overpainted in the 1830s, have also been meticulously recreated throughout the Manor following detailed historic paint analysis by interior decoration specialists Hare & Humphreys.
The home’s adjoining gallery, built in the 1930s as a public library, has also been upgraded and will host three major exhibitions each year highlighting work by artists, designers, and architects. The inaugural show features Anish Kapoor, whose sculptures will reflect Soane’s use of mirrors to create and diminish space. “The exhibition program and Anish Kapoor’s work will look to reanimate the spirit and invention of Soane’s ideas,” says Leslie, “connecting with the present and offering visitors new ways of looking and thinking about the world.”
Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday on Mattock Lane in London.
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2019 Spring issue in the section The Artful Life. Subscribe to the magazine.