chapter  6
50 Pages

Life in ruins

ByJonathan Hill

The child of a bricklayer and a poor and uneducated family that he never mentioned, Soan invented Soane. Reflecting his ambition, he continued the renaming tradition of Palladio and Kent, even correcting all his earlier signatures to match his chosen surname. 1 In 1768, aged 15, he entered the office of George Dance the Younger who was that year one of only four architect founder members of the Royal Academy of Arts, which acquired a prestigious royal charter at its inception while even the Royal Society had to wait two years. The Royal Academy’s first President was the painter Joshua Reynolds and its first Treasurer was Chambers. The two female founder members, Angelica Kauffman and Mary Moser, were rare examples of women achieving such status in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. 2