Sir John Soane’s Museum in central London is a unique and idiosyncratic ‘house museum’, designed and built in the early 19th century by its obsessive architect/collector owner. This book takes the reader on a personal and poetic trail, capturing the tragic story of the man who created it, the eclectic collection he gathered within its walls, and most importantly what it says about our universal desire to leave a mark in space and time.
The House of Everything is conceived as a loose navigation from room to room, taking in the Pompeian red library, the crypt with its glowing alabaster sarcophagus of Seti I, the Picture Gallery unfolding its all-too-close-to home story of a Rake’s Progress, the Monk’s Parlour (dwelling of a completely fictitious gothic monk), the airy delights of the decorated Breakfast Room, right up to the Turner-yellow Drawing room.
No matter if you have never visited the place before – the texts are intercut with a series of striking collages made by the poet himself. They mix archive imagery of the house with contemporary visuals and help locate the reader in his/her passage through the house. They also help conjure the unique message of this book: how to make material our elusive dreams and imaginings.