From 1800 to 1804 Sir John Soane, one of Britain’s most influential architects, designed and built Pitzhanger Manor as his dream country retreat in then rural Ealing. He saw Pitzhanger as the foundation for what he hoped would become the Soane dynasty of architects. He wanted a country estate to reflect his new-found social status and to showcase his skills as an architect.
Pitzhanger was designed around Soane’s eclectic and growing collection of art and antiquities, including Hogarth’s series of paintings A Rake’s Progress. But first and foremost it was a place of entertainment, where he could host clients and influential friends at dinners and large garden parties, or simply to fish in his lake.
When Soane’s ideal of family harmony collapsed, he moved back to Lincoln’s Inn Fields, taking his collection with him. But Pitzhanger stands today as a testament to his creative genius. Newly conserved and returned to his original design, Pitzhanger is a rare example in London of a spectacular Soane building, largely intact. This guide tells the story of this remarkable house and of Sir John Soane, an architect whose influence is as strong today as ever.
You can find out more about Soane and his time at Pitzhanger Manor in our guidebook Pitzhanger Manor: Sir John Soane’s Country Home, available from our shop (£6.95).