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The homes of poets and painters
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The homes of poets and painters

This autumn, our interiors anthology, Stories, turned ten-issues-old. So, to mark our entry into double digits, we’ve dug into our archives to bring you nine articles from the nine previous volumes. This is the eighth, taken from our Summer 2018 issue. And you’ll find the rest right here on our journal now and in the weeks to come.

Turner's Twickenham house

Joseph Mallord William Turner. Aka J.M.W. Turner. Aka William Turner. One of Britain’s most celebrated Romantic painters, Turner was also a talented printmaker and watercolourist. He was born in 1775 in London’s Covent Garden and was referred to as being a ‘child prodigy with a cockney accent’, while studying at the Royal Academy of Arts. He’s most known for his use of colour, his inspired landscapes and his ferocious marine paintings.

Turner was also known for being a bit of a recluse. His Twickenham home, Sandycombe Lodge, was his weekend retreat where he hid from the pressures of the London art world. Before becoming an artist, he trained as a draughtsman, and designed the small villa himself with the help of his great friend John Soane. It was also where he cared for his father, ‘Old William’, who’d retired from being a barber and wigmaker in Covent Garden.

He sold Sandycombe Lodge in 1826, and it was later renovated for the worse. The original red brick was covered in a white render and an extension was added. Turner’s House Trust now own the property, and have restored it to Turner’s vision with the help of Butler Hegarty Architects. They reinstated the penny-roll pointing and even found scraps of Turner’s chosen wallpaper during the restoration which are now on display.

Rudyard Kipling's East Sussex home

Journalist, novelist, poet – Joseph Rudyard Kipling’s works were amongst the most popular in Britain’s 19th and 20th centuries. The Jungle Book is probably what he’s most remembered for, as well as his Just So Stories for children. But his poetry, which included Mandalay and Gunga Din, led to him being approached for the British Poet Laureateship and being laid to rest in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey.

Bateman’s is the name of the Jacobean house in the rural village of Burwash in East Sussex that Kipling (who also won the Nobel Prize in Literature), his wife, Carrie, and their three children lived for 34 years. “That’s she! The only she! Make an honest woman of her –
quick!” were the words he said when he saw their future home for the very first time. After his death in 1936, Bateman’s passed to Carrie, who left the property and its 330 acres of land to The National Trust as a memorial to her husband.

Today, the interior remains as it did when Kipling lived there – walls lined with books, antiqued globes, jotting-downs on ink-blotched paper, and the daybed from which he often wrote – and is open to the public.