Turner’s House artist in residence Nicky Carvell will install two new sculptures in June, unveiled in July, inspired by the 19th Century artist and his home in the garden and house which he designed for himself and his father in Twickenham.
Both works are the culmination of a six month residency, sponsored by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with a view to continue the house’s artistic heritage and enhance visitors’ experience by encapsulating it’s history through colour and form.
Turner’s House Trust were impressed by how Carvell’s own artistic practice had been inspired by J.M.W Turner’s virtuosic painting of light and appreciation of nature. She had followed in the great landscape artists’ footsteps studying at the Royal Academy Schools from 2006 to 2009. Both sides of Carvell’s family lived in the Clerkenwell and Holborn areas of London in Turner’s time, when he rapidly rose to artistic eminence as a self-made Londoner.
Carvell’s father, Dennis, is a Landscape Gardener coming from a long line of Bricklayers and, like Turner’s father, who he fondly referred to as Old Dad, has been a huge support throughout her artistic career. Dennis is also an ardent Turner fan and took his daughter on their own ‘Grand Tours’ through Italy when she was a teenager as well as trips to Margate. Just as Turner’s father William’s helped his son, so Dennis’s also is on hand to install her sculptures, as he will do in the newly landscaped garden at Turner’s House.
“I have focussed on the house’s original name ‘Solus Lodge’ which references the power of the sun and Turner’s reported final words ‘The Sun is God’ as this chimes with my own fascination with light and its astronomical sources from the heavens.”
“My work investigates the colour spectrum, it is this aspect of his work which I have explored during the Turner’s House residency. During a wonderful tour of the house 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 pieces play with the notion of light passing through coloured surfaces in two translucent sculptures; one is to be installed in the house and the other will be placed in the garden in which Turner’s father worked. The pieces are designed to cast ever-changing coloured patterns and shadows onto the ground much like a sun dial does. The curved panels have been made from thick acrylic with painted and vinyl wrapped elements and an implied ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ at the pinnacle of both works made from metal.
The sculptures also reflect Turner’s early designs of the house as a tower on a hill, his own sanctuary from the speed of London life to capture a feeling of escapism within his design of the house.
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’.
Repeat viewings of the house and garden will reward visitors with the sculptures’ constantly changing appearance along with the weather, emulating Turner’s genius in capturing mutable moments in time.
– from a Turner House press release - 13 June 2019