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Mike Leigh and Mr Turner film stars support JMW Turner's House campaign

PUBLISHED: 16:41 15 February 2015 | UPDATED: 09:53 16 February 2015

Mike Leigh at gate of Turner's House

Mike Leigh at gate of Turner's House

Archant

Director Mike Leigh and some of the leading actors from his award-winning Mr Turner film, visited Sandycombe Lodge to support the campaign to save JMW Turner's country villa in Twickenham.

Fresh from receiving a BAFTA fellowship, Leigh was joined by Marion Bailey (Mrs Booth), Paul Jesson (Turner’s father) and Nicholas Jones (Sir John Soane) in appealing to the nation to help the Turner’s House Trust restoration appeal, Returning Turner to Twickenham.

“Sandycombe Lodge is a unique and largely unknown three-dimensional work of art, designed by Turner for his own use. We support the Trust’s intention to restore it to Turner’s original design, to be enjoyed by future generations. We cannot let this heritage be neglected,” says Mike Leigh.

The grade 2* listed Sandycombe Lodge is on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk Register and, following generous support from private and national heritage funders, the Trust still has a further £270,000 to raise.

Together with Timothy Spall, the actors had previously visited Sandycombe in the early stages of researching their film, although it did not feature in the film which was set later in Turner’s life.

Having ‘lived’ Turner, they feel even more passionate about saving his country villa, his retreat from the hurly-burly of the Academy, patrons and domestic life.

Here his ‘Old Dad’ kept house for his son, helping to entertain his friends, including Sir John Soane, architect and fellow-fisherman.

“We are delighted to have the support of Mike Leigh and his Mr. Turner cast, helping us to raise awareness and enabling the vision of restoring Sandycombe to become a reality,” says Catherine Parry-Wingfield, chair of Turner’s House Trust.

“Like the artists who have visited Sandycombe Lodge to paint, many say they have been inspired by a feeling that Turner’s legacy remains in the house. With our recent £1.4 million grant offer from the Heritage Lottery Fund, offers of support from other funders and generous public donations we are so near our goal to save this Turner treasure. We just need the final slice.”

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