Modern Sculpture in Turner’s House
I have been lucky to photograph an amazing event recently, which took place at Turner's House.
In 1807 already renowned landscape painter JMW Turner, bought a large plot of land in Twickenham and himself designed Sandycombe Lodge to be built there. The house, intended to be a retreat from the London art world, was completed by 1813. It had a view of the Thames and he enjoyed the river for fishing and walks. His father, who also lived there, enjoyed looking after the large garden. Only a part of the garden remains now and the river view has been obstructed too. You could add, "but visitors to the house can see the view Turner would have had through an ingenious telescope!
Still, there is a new attraction to be seen there. Or two of them, to be precise. Two new sculptures, Moon Dial and Solus, by Turner’s House artist in residence Nicky Carvell were unveiled on Sunday 21st July, in a week celebrating the moon landing.
Unveiling of two sculptures was assisted by Turner’s House Trust Honorary Patron Catherine Parry-Wingfield and Eliza Bonham Carter, Head of Schools at the Royal Academy.
Nicky Carvell, the artist who wears clothes she has designed herself, works mostly in digital print with Photoshop as her conduit and aluminium as it's support. Turner’s House Trust were impressed by how Carvell’s own artistic practice had been inspired by J.M.W Turner's fascination with light and appreciation of nature. “I have focused on the house's original name 'Solus Lodge' which references the power of the sun ... as this chimes with my own fascination with light.” She explains, “My work investigates the colour spectrum, it is this aspect of his work which I have explored during the Turner’s House residency.I was very engaged by the way the outside light flows into and through the space, particularly in the beautiful lay light above the upper stairs. This filtering of light through glass provides a feeling of solace and inner warmth.”
The sculptures reflect Turner's early designs of the house as a tower on a hill, his escape and sanctuary from the speed of London. The pieces also give a visual nod to the replicated boat models in the house and the outlines of ships which Turner painted such as 'Admiral Van Tromp's Barge'; “I love the curves in forms as these big ships confront the winds, holding strong in the storm. And as the Lodge is situated near the river, I wanted to keep this nautical theme and for this interaction with nature to be apparent in the works in an abstract manner”. The sculptures have been decorated with textures from both the house, garden and river (such as the Penny Line pointing between the brickwork and the Turquerie rugs) bringing the inside outside and vice versa. Semi-circular forms echo both the shape of the windows throughout the house and rainbows in his paintings such as 'Arundel Castle'.
'Thus the moon barely wanes
Neglected and forgotten a few year ago, the beautiful house was brought back to life and show us how can we integrate past and present in an inspiring way.
Do check it out yourself - it really is worth a visit. The sculptures remain in the house till the Autumn.
Turner’s House, Sandycombe Lodge, 40 Sandycoombe Road, St Margarets, Twickenham TW1 2LR i
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