The overlooked influence of John Soane on architecture from 1791 to 1980 critical appraisal

BRADBURY, Oliver (2018). The overlooked influence of John Soane on architecture from 1791 to 1980 critical appraisal. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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The purpose and remit here is to investigate the afterlife of the architect John Soane (1753-1837) in terms of his architectural influence, my hypothesis positing that this had not been fully investigated and that the historical underestimation of Soane’s influence is erroneous. This critical appraisal is an opportunity to present further manifestations of Soane’s influence not covered in my submitted published work; in that the non-decorative manifestations of Soane’s influence were previously beyond the research boundaries of my investigations. Methodology and presentation: having utilised a ‘historical research strategy’ methodology as the most appropriate approach, anachronistic underestimation has been thoroughly revised through a coherent, thematic and closely interrelated body of work on one topic, Soane’s influence. The evidence used to support my hypothesis is presented in the four publications submitted here. Findings, context and justification: having presented the known spheres of Soane’s influence, this appraisal argues that the highest and most reliable data yield is found in a survey of Soane’s decorative influence, resulting in a justification for the submitted publications. Although there are differing readings of his influence, it is arguable that we are in fact dealing with a highly singular decorative lexicon synonymous with just one artist, Soane, which means proving decorative influence is more reliable than trying to prove Soane’s influence in different spheres, where there is too little data to begin the iterative process because there are far fewer tropes traceable to a particular originator. The context to my investigations is that before Postmodernism there had been a negative consensus on the degree or nature of Soane’s influence, thus resulting in a low yield of literature on the subject per se. Postmodernism engendered an interest in Soane’s legacy, resulting in some scholarly investigation. A consequence of these partial endeavours was that there was now considerable chronological lacunae in-between these investigations, with no notion of overarching historical continuum. Such investigations having been confined only to certain eras: Soane’s own (late Georgian); late Modernism and Postmodernism. Originality and worth: this topic had never been investigated as a thematic and wholly chronological entity (1791-1980), despite some forty-four books on Soane’s architecture and Soane himself but none on his influence, until my 2015 survey. My work has given Soane a recognisable afterlife and so his influence can now be viewed as an independent topic that is deserved of prolonged investigation for the first time ever.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Spence, Kevin
Additional Information: Director of Studies: Dr Kevin Spence
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Justine Gavin
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2018 11:23
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:31

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