Sir John Soane: TOK example of personal imagination and the unity of the visual arts: architecture, sculpture and painting

Sir John Soane (1753-1837), one of the UK’s greatest architects, probably best known for his design of the Bank of England, may seem an unlikely candidate for  a TOK example. However, his house-museum in London reveals the unity of the visual arts, given that there are no clear distinctions between art, sculpture and architecture. In his will he specified that the house should remain unchanged, and so it offers a unique opportunity to step back into the world of 1837 since when it has been preserved.

Touring his house packed full of the most surprising and bizarre antiquities (and the fascinating ‘Picture Room’ whose 100+ paintings including Hogarths  and Canalettos on hinged screens, fold back to reveal yet more paintings), Soanes’ house-museum is the product of his extraordinary imagination and a remarkable example of the impact of an individual creative genius on a particular area of knowledge. The image above is entitled Grand Tour In Search of Soane (after Gandy) by Emily Allchurch. If you want to explore this example further, the following link may be of interest:

Further exploration of Imagination as a Way of Knowing (Unit 2 Chapter 4), and the Arts as an Area of Knowledge, (Unit 2 Chapter 9) in Decoding Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma: Themes, Skills and Assessment by Wendy Heydorn and Susan Jesudason

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