Apparently, the abundant British adventurous painter JMW Turner (1775-1851) already said if he could accept his activity afresh he would accept been an architect: a account that is as acceptable an altercation as any I’ve heard adjoin reincarnation.
That’s not to say London’s finest mural artisan couldn’t accept become a appropriate artisan from a abstruse point of view. He knew his way about a set of affairs accepting been apprenticed to an artisan in his aboriginal teens, and would consistently board admirable barrio in his paintings.
But architectonics is alone a baby allotment of the art of architecture.
The absolute assignment is done in admiring and cajoling clients, compromising to board their wishes, and alive aural a account that is about about as fit for purpose as an honest thief.
The abundantly irascible, opinionated, atypical ability that was the barber’s son from Covent Garden would accept collapsed out with added barter than the Duke and Duchess of Sus accept with ancestors members. The affairs of him active a acknowledged architectural convenance would accept been zero, added to which we wouldn’t accept his amazing art to enjoy.
There is one place, though, where, for the aboriginal time back 1826, we can accept a glimpse into a apple breadth Turner the ambitious artisan and Turner the absolute painter of ablaze and atmosphere, coexist.
It involves a cruise to burghal Twickenham in south-west London to appointment a baby but altogether formed Georgian abode that Turner himself advised amid 1807-13 (with a little advice from his friend, the acclaimed architect, Sir John Soane).
Sandycombe Lodge is his one and alone realised architecture – or three-dimensional artwork as those adulatory to drag its cachet ability say – and as such gives us two insights. Firstly, Turner’s architectural tastes were as bourgeois as his paintings were radical. And secondly, he was, at heart, a bashful man.
It is a bijou acreage on what was a abundant plot, which the 32-year-old Turner bought to body his bolthole from the hurly able-bodied of axial London life.
He was already a actual acknowledged artisan with a pad in Harley Street to which he had absorbed his own bartering art gallery. He admired the abstraction of owning a des-res in what the artisan James Thomson declared as “the alone vale of the Thames” – the beach breadth apparent from Richmond Hill demography in Kew, Twickenham, Isleworth and Richmond.
It was the Cotswolds of the day, the contemporary abode breadth the affluent and acclaimed would “weekend” and ample their deluxe houses with alluring guests. Turner actuality Turner and a adverse array of fellow, went tiny breadth others – such as his old Royal Academy admiral Sir Joshua Reynolds – went actual large.
Turner wasn’t absorbed in impressing anybody, he was absorbed in the ablaze of the Thames, a river to which he had spent his activity active in abutting proximity.
He’d allure a few mates to break (including, somewhat surprisingly, the Duc d’Orléans, after Louis Philippe, King of France), booty them fishing, ask them to accompany his “Pic-nic-Academical Club”, and altercate poetry.
There is no affirmation he corrective with oils there, but he absolutely sketched and apparently went out on his distinctively fabricated boat-cum-studio to acrylic in watercolours.
What is after agnosticism is his constant aesthetic accord with the River Thames, an important burden best abundantly axiomatic in his arresting masterpiece Rain, Steam and Speed (1844).
It is, forth with The Fighting Temeraire (1839), a painting that cements Turner as one of the best accepted artists in the UK and beyond. They are both backward works but you can see their origins in some beforehand oil sketches he produced while active in Isleworth, which accept been adopted from the Tate Arcade and are now presented in a pocket-sized exhibition at Sandycombe Lodge.
It is the aboriginal time back the artisan awash his Twickenham home about 200 years ago that any of his aboriginal paintings accept afraid on its walls. They are displayed in an admiral bedfellow bedroom, which is not actual big, but again nor are the sketches.
There are bristles paintings in total, all on mahogany, one added angled than a 12 inch vinyl larboard out in the sun.
They are declared as “experimental, clandestine works”, which is cipher for not first-rate. No matter, they are alluring to see.
The largest, Walton Reach (1805), hangs over the fireplace. It is the atomic acceptable of those on show, with a vertical array of black/grey billow aerial like a spaceship in the average of the sky.
Constable would accept laughed himself asinine at his abundant rival’s ham-fisted attack to acrylic a meteorological effect. But again his eyes would accept glanced to the larboard of the painting and apparent Turner blast in anatomy as river morphs into copse that advance to a adorable blush sky abashing a sun behind.
There’s a lovely, bound painted, account The Thames abreast Windsor (1807), which Cézanne would accept admired for its palette and absent simplicity.
Another, On the Thames (1807), additionally has a proto-Impressionist feel as Turner captures ablaze furnishings in absolute time.
The two stand-out sketches are Sunset on the River (1805), which is beautiful, and Windsor Castle from the River (1807), which allowances from accepting been abreast with white acrylic giving it a lustre and blush the others don’t share. Both are acutely a ahead of what is to appear in Turner’s after years.
Sunset on the River is an accessible advertiser to Turner’s Fighting Temeraire with the sun activity bottomward abaft attenuate orange clouds, evoking the adventurous homesickness that makes his after masterpiece such a mesmerising artwork.
Windsor Castle from the River credibility appear Rain, Steam and Speed: a apparitional anatomy almost arresting in the background, partially hidden abaft the atmospheric furnishings of Thames baptize amalgamation into bleared cloud.
The sketches are not masterpieces, cipher is activity to pay millions of pounds to own them or appearance them (£8 access to the abode and exhibition), but they are able-bodied account seeing: on their own agreement and additionally as a way of compassionate how Turner formed and developed as an artist. That they are in the abode he advised for himself is an added bonus: there’s a lot to be said for quiet bashfulness in this overwrought, over-excited century.
It was an escape for Turner then. It can be an escape for you now.
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