Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough opens Turner exhibition at the artist’s Twickenham home

By Aliss Higham
January 21 2020, 17.40

Sir David Attenborough opened a display of JMW Turner paintings in the artists former home in Twickenham this month.

Five oil paintings by English Romantic painter JMW Turner, on loan from the Tate, have gone on display at Sandycombe Lodge.

Attenborough said: “I knew that Turner was around here, but I never dreamt that there was a hidden gem like this; you could have walked up and down Sandycombe Road all your life and never known that this was the place of the greatest 19th century painter.”

He is a lifelong south west London resident, born in Isleworth, and currently lives in Richmond. 

NATURE BOYS: Sir David admiring a painting at Turner’s House

“I can imagine Turner now walking to Richmond Park, there is a lot of Turner still around here, but you won’t find it as vividly and as movingly as you do in this most beautifully and lovingly restored house.”

Turner’s House director Ricky Pound said: “This is an incredibly important exhibition for the house, in fact I would go as far as to say historic, as this is the first time since Turner and his father left the house in 1826 that any original art created by Turner has returned to it.

“These oil sketches were painted in 1805, at a time when Turner was a young man and living locally in Isleworth.

“They are unusual in that they are painted on old pieces of recycled mahogany and painted by Turner in situ on a boat on the River Thames.”

His work was prolific and characterised by its unparalleled use of light, and is widely regarded as the predecessor to Impressionism. 

Born in 1775, he was a controversial figure throughout his life, never marrying yet fathering two daughters with his housekeeper. 

Turner, sometimes known as William, built Sandycombe Lodge after moving around various west London spots, including Hammersmith, Isleworth and Brentford.

The house was designed on the advice of the artist’s good friend Sir John Soane. 

By the time he moved to Twickenham, he was already a successful painter with his own gallery in Harley Street. 

Turner and the Thames: Five Paintings runs until March 29.

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