Newsletter October 2017
In July the doors of Sandycombe Lodge opened to the public, after just over a year of conservation work. As Friends of Turner’s House know, we have all had to adjust our expectations about the outward appearance of Sandycombe. Gary Butler, our conservation architect found incontrovertible evidence that Turner’s building was of ‘fair faced’ brick, and this is how it is now handsomely presented. Inside, the marbled paint finish of the hall, stairs and corridor, identified by historic paint analyst Helen Hughes, has given unexpected grandeur to that area and all furnishing is now complete.
The conservation project is now at an end. The paths which will allow wheelchair users to enjoy the garden have been put down, and only the planting remains. In September, the wildflower lawn was laid on the gently domed area at the back of the house, to be followed by planting the beds with flowers, shrubs and trees which are appropriate for the early 19thcentury.
Turner’s House now has two members of staff, whom many of you will now have met, our House Director Lucy Thompson and our Activities and Interpretation Officer Michelle Graabek. This autumn we will also appoint a Heritage Trainee.
Our long standing team of volunteer guides, gardeners and stewards has now been joined by new recruits, under Michelle’s management, all ensuring that our visitors’ experiences are enjoyable and informative. We are very fortunate in having such a dedicated group involved in the life of Turner’s House.
The exceptionally hard work of fundraising and planning to get the conservation project up and running is complete, and our focus now changes to managing a historic property which is open to the public and must generate enough income to stay afloat.
Several trustees now wish to retire from Turner’s House Trust’s Board: Andrew Wilton, Derek Plummer, Jenny Pearce and Diana Dunrossil, having given their considerable skills for many years. Rosemary Vaux is also retiring as our PR consultant – Rosemary has gained us tremendous media coverage and her husband Ken has been a great photographer. We give them all our heartfelt thanks for their great generosity in giving so much to the Sandycombe project.
We welcome three new trustees: Romy Murray, who has a distinguished career in finance and management, Dr David Souden, a historian with wide experience in the education field for historic properties, including Historic Royal Palaces (Kew Palace and Hampton Court), and Dr Jacqueline Riding, an art historian and author who has worked extensively in heritage properties, and who was Mike Leigh’s researcher for Mr Turner. We aim to recruit more trustees to reflect our changing circumstances.
The support of the Friends of Turner’s House has been hugely encouraging, visible in the financial contribution to the conservation appeal and in the number of volunteers. Thank you all so much for helping us to Save Sandycombe and bring alive the story of our great painter’s time in Twickenham.
October 1, 2017