Saving Mr Turner’s country retreat, Sandycombe Lodge

PUBLISHED: 09:38 03 November 2014 | UPDATED: 14:45 03 November 2014

Sandycombe Lodge engraved by WB Cooke c1814

Sandycombe Lodge engraved by WB Cooke c1814


The imminent release of director Mike Leigh’s award-winning biopic, Mr Turner, casts new light on the future of the world renowned landscape artist JMW Turner’s former home on the Surrey border.

Completed in 1813, Sandycombe Lodge was designed and built by Turner, between Twickenham and Richmond, as an escape from the hectic London art world and the hurly-burly of his own household.

Now, however, the grade II listed country villa is on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk register and badly in need of restoration.

“With additional damage caused by extreme weather conditions in recent years, this is now urgent,” says Catherin Parry-Wingfield, chairman of Turner’s House Trust.

“We have generous promises of grants and funding, which we must match in order to proceed. With every pound we are closer to saving this Turner treasure for future generations, but we still have a long way to go.

“We hope that, as this new film will no doubt inspire people to visit the artist’s wonderful masterpieces in our galleries, they will also support a lasting legacy for his country home.”

At the early stages of his work on the film, Mike Leigh visited Sandycombe Lodge with actors Timothy Spall (Turner), Paul Jesson (Turner’s father) and Nicholas Jones (Sir John Soane) to learn as much as possible about the man behind the pictures.

From the country villa, Turner would sketch along the Thames on foot, fish on the river and occasionally entertain his friends including Sir John Soane, architect and fellow-fisherman, whose influence is apparent throughout Sandycombe.

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