Campaign Raises $3.5 Million to Salvage the Only House Designed by Turner

Turner's architectural gem is badly dilapidated.

J.M.W. Turner’s Sandycombe Lodge.Photo: via Turner’s House Trust.
J.M.W. Turner’s Sandycombe Lodge before renovations. Courtesy of the Turner House Trust.

The painter J.M.W. Turner is a veritable British legend, revered by public museums, collectors, and art lovers alike. Yet, all the adoration hasn’t prevented Sandycombe Lodge—the country house that the British master designed and built outside of London in 1813—from falling into serious disrepair, with parts of the house damaged by flooding and collapsing ceilings.

Now, a campaign has been launched to save this historic building in Twickenham, with an ambitious year-long renovation already underway, funded with contributions from private donors and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“The house has very much reached the point where it needs a major overhaul,” said Gary Butler of Butler Hegarty Architects, the firm in charge of the restoration, according to the New York Times.

“It’s not going to fall down in the next one or two years if you did nothing, but it’s dilapidated to the point where continued occupation would be difficult.”

J.M.W. Turner’s Sandycombe Lodge.<br>Photo: via Flickr.

J.M.W. Turner’s Sandycombe Lodge.
Photo: via Flickr.

The total cost of the renovation is estimated to be £2.4 million ($3.5 million) but about £154,000 ($226,000) is yet to be raised.

In order to do so, the Turner’s House Trust has organized a sale of artworks donated by British contemporary artists, including the president of the Royal Academy of Arts Christopher Le Brun, Diana Armfield, Basil Beattie, Frank Bowling, and Rose Hilton.

The sale will take place on January 12 at the Donnington Priory branch of the Dreweatts & Bloomsbury auction house, in Newbury.

Turner—who trained as an architectural draftsman, and later in his life said that he would have been an architect if he could live his life again—began designing and sketching Sandycombe Lodge in 1810 as a countryside retreat from his high-pressure professional and personal life in London city.

J.M.W. Turner’s Sandycombe Lodge.Photo: via Turner’s House Trust.

J.M.W. Turner’s Sandycombe Lodge.
Photo: via Turner’s House Trust.

The villa, designed in Italianate style, was open to visitors one afternoon a month, but closed to the public in November 2015. The restoration work will begin shortly, and the house is scheduled to re-open in the summer of 2017.

You can donate funds towards the renovation here.


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