A 19th century villa designed by artist J.M.W. Turner, and recently facing dereliction, has received a £1.4m Heritage Lottery Fund grant for restoration work.
Sandycombe Lodge in Twickenham (which we featured as our Good Cause of the Day a few weeks back) was designed by the landscape artist, who originally trained as an architect, and used as a country retreat by himself and his father between 1813 and 1826. Now known better as Turner's House Twickenham, the property will be returned to the way it was during the artist's lifetime, by Turner's House Trust. An additional first floor to the two single-storey wings and two-storey extension to the north wall — added after Turner sold the property in 1826 — will be removed.
The building has features in common with architect Sir John Soane's Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing, due to the friendship between the two men. The house was donated to the Turner's House Trust in 2010, following the death of Professor Harold Livermore, who had owned it since 1947.
Currently, Sandycombe Lodge is only open to the public one afternoon a month, but when the restoration is complete in 2016, it will be open 46 weeks a year. 60 volunteers will be recruited as stewards, hosts, tour guides and gardeners. Visitors will be able to see inside the world of Turner the painter, and get a glimpse of his personal and domestic life. Those unable to use stairs will able to take a 3D virtual tour of the first floor and basement of the property.