Hedge Funders, Puppet Terrier for Soane: Scene in London

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Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

A re-enactor posing as John Soane's wife, Elizabeth, with her favorite Manchester terrier, Fanny, actually a puppet. Fanny's grave is in Monk's Yard, a courtyard at the home John Soane designed for himself, now the Sir John Soane's Museum.

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Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

A re-enactor posing as John Soane's wife, Elizabeth, with her favorite Manchester terrier, Fanny, actually a puppet. Fanny's grave is in Monk's Yard, a courtyard at the home John Soane designed for himself, now the Sir John Soane's Museum. Close

A re-enactor posing as John Soane's wife, Elizabeth, with her favorite Manchester terrier, Fanny, actually a puppet.... Read More

Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

Reto Barmettler and Nina Sorensen, Russian art specialists at auction house MacDougall Arts Ltd. Close

Reto Barmettler and Nina Sorensen, Russian art specialists at auction house MacDougall Arts Ltd.

Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

Chris Levett, founder and CEO of hedge fund Clive Capital LLP, and Gina Levett. Close

Chris Levett, founder and CEO of hedge fund Clive Capital LLP, and Gina Levett.

Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

John Bennett, CEO of Windsor Limited, Toby Grafferty-Smith, and David Howden, CEO of Hyperion Insurance Group Ltd. Close

John Bennett, CEO of Windsor Limited, Toby Grafferty-Smith, and David Howden, CEO of Hyperion Insurance Group Ltd.

Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

Graham Barker, a human resources consultant, and Alison Gowman, a partner at DLA Piper UK LLP. Close

Graham Barker, a human resources consultant, and Alison Gowman, a partner at DLA Piper UK LLP.

Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

Basil Postan, chairman of the Sir John Soane's Museum Trust. Close

Basil Postan, chairman of the Sir John Soane's Museum Trust.

Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

The Great Hall at Royal Chelsea Hospital set for the Sir John Soane's Trust dinner. Close

The Great Hall at Royal Chelsea Hospital set for the Sir John Soane's Trust dinner.

Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

Tim Knox, director of Sir John Soane's Museum. Close

Tim Knox, director of Sir John Soane's Museum.

Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

Rufus Albemarle, a designer and earl. Close

Rufus Albemarle, a designer and earl.

Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

Sally Albemarle, wife of Rufus Albemarle. Close

Sally Albemarle, wife of Rufus Albemarle.

Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

Gaby Grafferty-Smith and Fiona Howden, who dressed to the theme of the "Regency Rout" party. Close

Gaby Grafferty-Smith and Fiona Howden, who dressed to the theme of the "Regency Rout" party.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Georgina Byng, a children's book author, artist Marc Quinn, Maria Fatsis and Theodore Fatsis, a lawyer in the maritime industry. Close

Georgina Byng, a children's book author, artist Marc Quinn, Maria Fatsis and Theodore Fatsis, a lawyer in the maritime industry.

Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

John Gunn, chairman emeritus, Dodge & Cox Funds, and Cynthia Fry Gunn are the biggest American donors to date to the Sir John Soane's Museum. Their gifts have helped build the Soane's conservation center and, closer to home, a Stanford University building housing the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy. Close

John Gunn, chairman emeritus, Dodge & Cox Funds, and Cynthia Fry Gunn are the biggest American donors to date to the... Read More

Photographer: Merry Brownfield/Bloomberg

Kristin Panasewicz, who works at interior design firm Oliver Laws Ltd., and James Firmin, director of the property search firm Crown Mayfair. Close

Kristin Panasewicz, who works at interior design firm Oliver Laws Ltd., and James Firmin, director of the property... Read More

Black London taxis disgorged guests at the Royal Hospital Chelsea for the Sir John Soane’s Museum gala last Thursday night.

Among the arrivals was Christian Levett, founder of hedge fund Clive Capital LLP, and David Howden, chief executive officer of Hyperion Insurance Group Ltd. Both decided against the more colorful of the two dress options, black tie or “Regency costume.”

Less sartorially timid were Alison Gowman, a partner in the law firm DLA Piper, and Howden’s wife, Fiona.

It was all in celebration of Soane, the architect who designed several buildings at the Royal Hospital in the early 19th century, and in support of the highly personal museum he began to assemble at that time.

Women in empire gowns and men with long silk coats over ruffled shirts strolled across the manicured lawn of the hospital’s Figure Court.

A re-enactor dressed as Mrs. Soane carried a replica of her favorite Manchester terrier, Fanny.

As the setting sun caught the gilt on a statue of Charles II, a trio from the Royal College of Music played. Was 1812 really this civilized?

Cutting the finest figure, period-wise, was Soane Museum director Tim Knox, in buff breeches and dark cutaway.

Great Hall

“We are here to celebrate not only what Soane achieved in his lifetime, but how his legacy has endured and blossomed in a way that he could never have thought possible,” Knox said during the banquet in the Great Hall.

It’s in a building designed by Christopher Wren, and large portraits of royalty gazed down on guests at long oak tables eating Cornish crab and venison in red wine.

They included Basil Postan, chairman of the Sir John Soane’s Museum Trust, and John and Cynthia Gunn of San Francisco.

Knox said the goal was “to create an endowment of 10 million pounds over the next few years which will provide a cushion of independence for the museum.” That’s about $16 million.

The dinner, whose costs were underwritten by several friends of the museum, netted 375,000 pounds plus a separate pledge of 37,000 pounds, according to Chas A. Miller III, executive director of the Sir John Soane's Museum Foundation.

(Daniel T. Billy is an editor with the Muse arts and leisure team. Any opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include Greg Evans on television, Elin McCoy on wine and Jorg von Uthmann on Paris art.

To contact the writer on this story: Daniel Billy in London at dbilly@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net

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