The Scribblaire was very lucky to be given a gift for Christmas of being a ‘Friend of Turner’s House’. Some will know that we usually have one or two memberships of museums, galleries and/or historic buildings each year as we feel very strongly about preserving these buildings and their contents. Being a Member or Friend means that we are able to contribute to the upkeep or preservation of buildings and artefacts and has the added benefit of being invited to lectures and exhibitions paid for by the subscription.
Today, we walked along the river almost to Richmond before taking a left-hand turn towards St Margarets. After a few wrong turns we found the lovely little cottage that Turner designed and built. Although there have been some alterations in the 200 years since it was built, the house is still charming and unusual.
JMW Turner is one of my favourite painters, if not THE favourite, so being able to contribute to the renovation of the house is fantastic. The Scribblaire had known that Turner once lived and worked in Twickenham, but not where the house was. I didn’t know until recently that he had designed the house himself. I was surprised at how modest the house was, although I have subsequently read that Twickenham was an expensive place to live, even in the nineteenth century. Since JMW apparently also had a house in ‘town’ where his mistress and children lived, it might have been too much of a financial stretch …
The house was bequeathed by Professor Harold Livermore, the previous owner, and is now owned by a Trust. The Trust has launched an appeal to raise £2m for conservation of the house, which will eventually be open to the public.
I’ll be supporting it for sure.