Saturday, 14 February 2015

A Year in Pictures – 13 February 2015 – Mr Turner's

Most Fridays I pass very close to this unique house, Sandycombe Lodge, which the artist JMW Turner (1789 – 1862)—who had some architectural training and was a friend of the great architect John Soane—designed for himself and his father as a country retreat. The Turners lived there from 1813 until 1826, by which time Turner senior's health was in decline.

The house has, since 2010, been owned by Turner's House Trust, which has just been awarded a grant of £1.4 million to restore it. Extensions that are not part of Turner's original design will be removed and the house will be developed sensitively for public access and education during most weeks of the year. The projected completion date is in 2016, but the house will be open to the public between April and October 2015 on the first Saturday of the month. The Trust has created a most informative website about the house and its plans.

Although since Turner's times Twickenham has grown from a riverside settlement of market gardens and stately parks into a developed suburb of London and the raucous home of English rugby, it nevertheless retains enough elements of what it once was to enable an appreciation of why England's greatest landscape artist was drawn to make his home here.

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