The Turner House Gallery was built in 1888 by wealthy Penarth resident James Pyke Thompson on land previously occupied by the thatched farmhouse of Taylor's Farm.He named it after the painter J.M. Turner and used it to house part of his private art collection which included paintings by J.M.W Turner and Dante Gabriel Rossetti as well as some examples of fine porcelain.

The gallery was opened to public view on the one day Sunday when his collection could be seen by the largest number of people and thus became known as 'The Sunday Gallery'. The gallery was originally housed on the first floor of the building with the downstairs area being used for the custodian's accommodation.

The building is constructed of red brick with moulded brick string courses and dentil cornice. Red sandstone is used in the detailing in Italianate early Renaissance style and the roof is in red tile with a longitudinal light. There is a projecting arched centre bay with a plain semi-circular panel with the painted inscription 'Turner House Gallery'.

Following Thompson's death in 1897 the gallery gradually lost the public's interest and attendance figures dwindled. In 1921 the Trustee's decided to hand over Turner House and its contents to the National Museum of Wales to exhibit works from the reserve collection and temporary exhibitions of the National Museums & Galleries of Wales.

Turner House was requisitioned and used by the RAF for its 'Women's Section' during World War II. It was finally returned to the National Museum of Wales in 1944 and after some minor structural modifications was reopened to the public in 1950.

In 2003 responsibility for programming and administration at Turner House was taken over by Ffotogallery the national development agency for photography in Wales where it now acts as a significant new space for contemporary photography and as an additional exhibition and educational outreach facility alongside its Cardiff base at Chapter Arts Centre.

At the end of November 2015, the building was suddenly closed, Ffotogallery stating that they were taking what they described as "a short break" to plan its 2016/17 exhibitions.
Then in May 2016, with the building still closed to the public, it was announced that the gallery was to become the venue for a new once-a-month Food Market. The ensuing controversy regarding the inappropriateness of this use soon caused the scheme to be dumped. Then the following month, a further row erupted concerning Ffotogallery's changes to the building in 2014 for a video exhibition which had involved covering the roof skylight and filling in a "light well" - an opening in the first floor surrounded by a balustrade enabling light to reach down to the ground floor. These features were "Listed" as part of the fabric of the building. Ffotogallery were warned a Listed Building Enforcement Notice was to be issued requiring the changes to be reversed and the building was eventually returned to its original condition. Ffotogallery re-opened the gallery for exhibitions in early 2017.

You can learn more about the Turner House Gallery and its programme of exhibitions by visiting the website via the link below.

Ffotogallery at Turner House

A link to the latest Google Streetview is provided below but please be aware that this may be somewhat out of date.

Google Streetview