Bank of England, Model for North-West Corner


Sir John Soane’s Museum, London.

Institutional Internal Reference Code:

SM MP225


Bank of England, London, model for the north-west (Tivoli) Corner, executed design, 1805.

Date of creation:


Extent and basic medium:

1 model.

Name of creator(s):

Unidentified model-maker for John Soane.

Administrative / contextual / biographical history:

This model is one of more than 40 relating to the evolution of Soane’s designs for the Bank of England over the 45 years that he was its architect (from 1788). It is the final design model in a sequence of studies (through drawings and other models) searching for a solution to the challenge posed by the Bank of England’s acute north-west angle. The executed design, shown here, featured a projecting curved colonnade framed by angular columnar wings and surmounted by a pedimented attic. As built, the Tivoli corner was considered Soane’s masterpiece, ‘an inspired classical amalgamation of undulating Baroque massing, Roman columnar monumentality, Grecian simplicity in the attic and an exuberant Vanbrughian skyline’ (Daniel Abramson in John Soane architect, Royal Academy, 1999). Soane used this model as the centrepiece for a display of models for his own schemes above the doorway in the mock-gothic Monk’s Parlour in the basement of his home at 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

Provenance / archival ownership history:

Model made for John Soane.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Bequeathed to the nation as part of Sir John Soane’s Museum, 1837.

Conditions governing access:

On display in the Monk’s Parlour at Sir John Soane’s Museum during Museum opening hours (Weds-Sun 10-5, last admission 4.30pm).

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright The Trustees of Sir John Soane’s Museum.

Materials, physical characteristics and technical requirements:

Painted wood. H: 61.5cm, W: 50cm, D: 25cm. Scale 3ft to 1in.

Finding aids available:

Sir John Soane’s Museum collections online –

Bibliographic note:

H. Rooksby Steele & F. R. Yerbury, The Old Bank of England, 1930, pp.20-21, pl.V; A.T. Bolton, A short account of the evolution of the design of the Tivoli Corner of the Bank of England, designed by Sir John Soane, R.A. 1804-1805, Sir John Soane’s Museum, 1933; John Wilton-Ely, ‘The Architectural Models of Sir John Soane: A Catalogue’, Architectural History, Vol. 12, 1969, cat. 27, fig.; M. Richardson & M. Stevens (eds), John Soane architect: master of space and light, Royal Academy of Arts, 1999, cat.161; M. Richardson, ‘John Soane and the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli’, Architectural History, vol. 46, 2003, pp. 129-145; D. Abramson, Building the Bank of England, 2005, pp. 146-156.

Exhibition / display history:

Exhibited in John Soane Architect, Royal Academy, 1999, cat. 161.

Subjects (Getty Art & Arch Thesaurus):

Architectural models; architectural education; model-making


England: London; City of London; Bank of England.


John Soane (1753-1837), architect