Did Turner use Sandycombe Lodge as a studio?
It is not possible to prove this, and no surviving records contain any reference to painting activity here. It would, however, be extraordinary if he did not, and he would always have been sketching in preparation for large works in oil, probably executed in his West End studio. It is most likely that he worked here in watercolour, as there are many accounts of him working prolifically in this medium elsewhere, again often in preparation for large oils. It is recorded that he kept models of ships in cases (now in Tate Britain) at Sandycombe, which could only have been for preparatory sketches for marine subjects. The debate will go on, including discussion as to which room he might have used.
Why is it ‘Sandycombe’ Lodge but ‘Sandycoombe’ Road?
Good question! The road was just Sandy Lane in Turner’s time, then Sandy Combe Road, then sometime mid-20th century the Post Office changed the spelling, to avoid confusion with Sandycombe Road in Kew.
Did any women live at Sandycombe Lodge with Turner and his father?
Not so far as any accounts tell us. One of the reasons that Turner wanted a country retreat was to escape the noisy London household where he lived with his mistress Sarah Danby, her four children, and their two daughters. But friends of both sexes came on social calls, and there must have been women who came to clean and to launder.