In 1807 J.M.W. Turner, England’s greatest landscape painter, bought himself a large plot of land between Twickenham and Richmond Bridge. He once declared that “if he could have his life again, he would have been an architect”, and in building Sandycombe Lodge he was able to indulge that wish.
The house, intended as a retreat from the pressures of the London art world, was completed by 1813. Turner would walk to the Thames towpath, sketchbook in hand, and enjoy the river for more practical purposes - he was a keen fisherman and enjoyed the company of several friends and fellow anglers here.
The lodge also became home to his father, retired from the barber’s trade in Covent Garden. Old William took charge of household matters and enjoyed what his son called ‘farming’ – looking after the large garden. In 1826, eager to resume European travels that took up much of his time, Turner sold Sandycombe. This decision was probably strengthened by his father’s failing health, and he was removed to Turner’s Marleybone house, though not without protest.
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