The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) writes that the conservation and restoration of Sandycombe Lodge, the Twickenham villa of one of Britain’s greatest landscape painters is now complete, made possible by money from National Lottery players.
image from HLF website article on Sandycombe Lodge
Sandycombe Lodge was the country retreat of JMW Turner from 1813 to 1826. The painter, who in his teens took lessons from an architectural draughtsman, designed the house for himself and despite later alterations, it remains a rare surviving example of a property in this country designed by a major artist for his own use.
Turner sold the property and moved out in 1826. Between 1947 and 2010 the house belonged to Professor Harold Livermore and his wife (Mrs Livermore died in 1997). On his death in 2010, Prof. Livermore bequeathed Sandycombe Lodge to Turner’s House Trust, along with his collection of works of art.
By 2013 the Grade II* structure was on the Historic England ‘At Risk’ Register, and urgently needed repair. HLF awarded £1.4million to help Turner’s House Trust restore the building, a project supported by Mike Leigh and the cast of Mr Turner, who visited in February 2015.
As well as carrying out repairs, the project removed 19th century additions to the house, returning it to Turner’s design. The house is now simply furnished with furniture from the early 19th century, and part of the Trust’s collection of art is on display for visitors to enjoy.
Before 2015, the project was open to the public one afternoon per month. Visitors can now walk inside the work of one of the world’s leading artists 46 weeks per year, in large part thanks to the team of more than 60 volunteers working as stewards, tour guides and gardeners.
Blondel Cluff, Chair of HLF Committee for London, said: ‘This project not only reveals a hidden heritage of international importance, but also firmly demonstrates the very best of British art, architecture and charity. We are delighted that millions of National Lottery players up and down the country have enabled us to support and maintain the visions of Professor Harold Livermore, and JMW Turner.’