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John Summerson

John Summerson has been Curator of Sir John Soane’s Museum since 1945. A revised and enlarged edition, the seventh, of his Architecture in Britain 1530-1830, in the Pelican History of Art series, is due out next month.

Sublime Propositions

John Summerson, 17 March 1983

This book is about the career of John Soane up to the age of 31. As Soane only started to build when he was 28, as all his important work was done after he was 35, as he practised architecture till his retirement at 80 and died at 83, it will be seen that the biographical coverage is likely to attract the dedicated specialist rather than the general reader. Nothing wrong with that. But the book is titled and packaged to give a somewhat different impression. The Bank of England and the Soane Museum are brought into the first few lines of the blurb but there is, of course, nothing about them in the book. The restrictive significance of the subtitle, ‘The Making of an Architect’, only emerges after a careful reading of the introduction. In short, the presentation of the work approaches the borderline of mendacity.

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