The product of many years’ research by Susan Palmer, archivist to Sir John Soane’s Museum, At Home with the Soanes paints a detailed picture of the social and domestic life at Nos 12 & 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, in the early 19th century – how the buildings were heated, the servants’ daily duties, what meals were cooked, wines purchased and teas drunk – even the fate of the family’s pet dog.
Family life with two children – in many ways as difficult as modern offspring – is brought vividly to life and the below-stairs relationships of the servants are poignantly recorded.
The evening social whirl of visits to theatres and supper parties is chronicled, and the description of seaside holidays on the Kentish coast, when Margate was in vogue, portrays the social niceties of promenades and dances.
Originally published in 1997, At Home with the Soanes has been updated to include the latest discoveries that have come to light during restoration of the house and re-designed to include over 100 illustrations, mostly in colour, from the extensive Museum archive, including photographs of the newly-recreated ‘lost’ private apartments.
At Home with the Soanes offers a fascinating insight into this London family’s life, both upstairs and downstairs.
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Susan Palmer is Archivist at Sir John Soane's Museum.