Visit Turner’s House in Twickenham
Did you know that Britain’s greatest landscape painter, J.M.W. Turner, designed his own house in Twickenham 200 years ago, as a country retreat for himself and his father?
Starting this month, the house is open to visitors as part of a fundraising bid to restore the house to its original appearance. Here to tell us more about the project is Catherine Parry-Wingfield from the Turner Trust.
Introduction to Sandycombe Lodge
Twickenham has a remarkable treasure tucked away that most residents know nothing about – Sandycombe Lodge, in Sandycoombe Road, St Margaret’s, which the great romantic landscape painter J.M.W. Turner designed for his own use as a get-away from his busy London life. Turner loved the riverside area around Twickenham, Richmond and Isleworth and this beautiful part of the Thames where we are so lucky to live inspired many of his paintings.
Turner’s House is now owned by Turner’s House Trust, which has now begun fundraising to restore it, with the purpose of eventually opening it to the public and using it as community resource for events such as painting workshops. All our visitors find this building, even in its unrestored state, absolutely fascinating – it is a house that has great stories to tell, about the famous painter and his work, about his eccentric ‘Old Dad’ who kept house, and about the way our suburb grew up out of a rural area of woodland and market gardens.
Special Arts Activities
The Trust has held several artists’ workshop at the house and, over this summer, several more sessions will take place. During late summer, the artist Michael Coldman will be working there on a series of small 3D cartoons about Turner and his life at Sandycombe, and will hold a workshop for children during this period.
Last autumn, we took part in the Big Draw, when tutors worked with families to create an image of Turner’s Dad, and constructed a very realistic kitchen range and dresser from scrap materials. The lovely ‘pond’, reminding us of Turner’s own large pond which was filled with fish he had caught in the Thames, now hangs on the wall to cheer our visitors.
How to get involved
Please be one of our visitors, and bring your families to some of our events this year. We need £2 million to restore this wonderful house and bring this great artist back to Twickenham through programmes and workshops for everyone to enjoy. Please help us achieve this for our community if you can by donating to Turner’s House Trust – through the website or by visiting the house. This will be a wonderful resource for our community in the years to come.
The Friends of Turner’s House has a strong body of volunteers who maintain the garden and staff the house as guides and stewards, but we need more, both during the conservation stage and for the future management of the house. The project offers a wealth of heritage training opportunities: we will be looking for volunteers to help in areas such as tour guiding, gardening, photography, film, blogging, web content development, digitisation, PR and marketing, interpretation and conservation, establishing volunteer-led volunteer management and running a series of Take One Day events which offer one-off group volunteering opportunities for students and businesses.
Dates to Visit the House
To come and see the ‘before’ stage of this nationally important project, the house will be open from 10.00am to 1.00pm on the first Saturday of each month and on every Saturday in June. Guides will be on hand to talk about this fascinating Regency building, the famous painter who became his own architect, and his ‘Old Dad’ who kept house. There is no need to book, and all visitors are guided around the unrestored house in small groups. Tickets cost £4.00 per head.
Saturday Opening Dates in 2013:
- Saturday 6th April
- Saturday 4th may
- Saturday lst June
- Saturday June 8th (Twickenham Festival)
- Saturday June 15th (Twickenham Festival)
- Saturday June 22nd (Twickenham Festival)
- Saturday June 29th (Twickenham Festival)
- Saturday 6th July
- Saturday 3rd August
- Saturday 7th September
- Saturday 5th October.
Download a flyer for upcoming Saturday opening dates.
Group visits are also welcome at Sandycombe on weekdays. To make an arrangement for this, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take Tea with Turner
On Sunday April 28th, there is also an opportunity to come and eavesdrop on Turner’s conversations about life at Sandycombe Lodge in the early l9th century in a re-enactment by the well-known company Past Pleasures, who have entertainingly performed at Hampton Court, the Tower of London and many other famous historic sites
Come and take tea with Turner and his ‘old dad’ as you enjoy the experience of this unique building. Tea with Turner is available at 2.30pm and 3.45pm and tickets cost £10 for adults and £5 for children.
Download a flyer for Tea with Turner
- For full details about the house and its restoration visit www.turnerintwickenham.org.uk
- For any other details or to enquire about volunteering, contact email@example.com.
- Fancy a sneak preview of the house in its pre-restored state? View some photos on Facebook