Celebrating 300 years of Capability Brown with the National Trust

2016 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of one of the UK’s most celebrated landscape gardeners, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.

A revered designer, entrepreneur and salesman, his nickname came from his fondness for describing country estates as having great ‘capabilities’ for improvement.

He designed landscapes on an immense scale which provided the must-have setting for country houses, surrounded by wooded belts, parkland dotted with trees, carefully contoured ground, and serpentine lakes that resembled artificial rivers.

Many of Brown’s designs can still be seen at National Trust places across England and Wales today, cared for by the conservation charity’s teams of gardeners and volunteers.

We’ve got plenty of activities taking place throughout the year to mark the anniversary and help you explore the landscapes of ‘Capability’ Brown.

Here’s just a small selection to show you what’s on offer.

Wimpole Scene_57_-¬ Agnese Sanvito

A visitor takes a photo of the reflection in one of nine structures that are part easel, part viewing glass at Wimpole in Cambridgeshire. Credit Agnese Sanvito.

Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
‘Scene: A New Way of Looking’, Until
30 Oct
Created by NEON, an award-winning design practice, the installation at Wimpole called ‘Scene’ can be discovered by visitors to the North Park, which was created by Capability Brown.

Visitors will find nine three metre high structures that are part easel, part viewing glass. Each easel captures a different element of Brown’s landscape design within its viewing glass, allowing visitors to discover the features that make up the whole composition, before trying the easels out to create some artwork of their own.
Price: Normal admission charges apply

To find out about more events taking place at Wimpole, visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wimpole-estate/whats-on

Berrington Hall, Herefordshire
Exhibition: Delicarta, 26 March – 06 Nov

‘Delicarta’ depicts the characters that shaped Berrington with a series of life size paper costumes, which from a distance look just like silk. ‘Capability’ Brown and Thomas Harley, the first owner of Berrington, are among those featured.
Price: Normal admission charges apply

To find out about more events taking place at Berrington Hall, visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/berrington-hall/whats-on

The Temple of Concord and Victory in the Grecian Valley at Stowe, Buckinghamshire. Stowe is an 18th century landscaped garden, and includes more than 40 historic temples and monuments.

The Temple of Concord and Victory in the Grecian Valley at Stowe, Buckinghamshire.

Stowe, Buckinghamshire
Exhibition: Capability Found, 12 Apr – 30 Oct

For the first time, visitors will have the chance to explore The Temple of Concord and Victory to discover more about Brown and his life and work at Stowe. The exhibition will include installations by the Embroiderers’ Guild and exhibition souvenirs. Visitors can also sit on the terrace overlooking the Grecian Valley as traditional loose leaf tea and coffee will be served in cafetieres with a selection of homemade cakes on china crockery.
Price: Normal admission charges apply

To find out about more events taking place at Stowe, visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stowe/whats-on

Petworth House and Park, West Sussex
Exhibition: Petworth Park Revealed: The Naked Landscape, 16 Apr – 6 Nov
For the very first time, Colonel Wyndham’s room on the first floor of Petworth House will be opened to visitors (providing a previously unseen view of the parkland) as it hosts an intriguing exhibition that explores ‘Capability’ Brown’s work at Petworth.
Price: Normal admission charges apply

To find out about more events taking place at Petworth, visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house-and-park/whats-on

Autumnal woodland and fields on the Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire, in November.

Autumnal woodland and fields on the Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire.

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire
Exhibition: Capability Brown and the Golden Valley, 20 April – April 2017

The year-long exhibition held in the visitor centre will explore how the Ashridge Estate looked before ‘Capability’ Brown arrived as well as delving into his influence on the landscape, in particular the Golden Valley. Children will be kept busy with the opportunity to design their own Brown-inspired gardens.
Price: Normal admission charges apply

To find out about more events taking place at Ashridge Estate, visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate/whats-on-

Croome, Worcestershire
Interactive theatre: A Capable Encounter, 4 performances every other Sunday from 24 April – 11 Sep

Visitors to Croome can enjoy an immersive theatre experience with the telling of ‘A Capable Encounter’. Led by three actors, audiences both young and old will be enthralled by the story of Capability Brown’s time at Croome as they tour the house while finding out about his designs and creations.
Price: Normal admission charges apply

To find out about more events taking place at Croome, visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/whats-on

Wallington, Northumberland
Exhibition: Shining a new light on Capability Brown, 11 June – 30 Oct

Discover a new exhibition marking the 300th anniversary of the birth of local boy Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Explore his connection to the Wallington estate with textile art made by the Embroiderers’ Guild and a display of some of Brown’s original drawings.
Price: Normal admission charges apply.

To find out about more events taking place at Wallington, visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wallington/whats-on

Sheffield Park, East Sussex
Trail: Playing with Perspectives – 9 Jul to 11 Sep
Sight, touch and sound are explored in a new trail inspired by Capability Brown. The ‘Playing with Perspectives’ trail encourages visitors to walk barefoot to experience different textures, discover mirrors that replicate the garden’s famous lake reflections and glimpse historic views through carefully positioned frames. A sound installation evokes the garden’s past to consider the landscape from a yet another perspective. A digital sandbox completes the trail, which will allow visitors to mould and sculpt their own landscape design and find out more about the methods Capability Brown used.
Price: Normal admission charges apply

To find out about more events taking place at Sheffield Park, visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sheffield-park-and-garden/whats-on

Visitors to Berrington Hall, August 2015

Berrington Hall in Herefordshire.

Berrington Hall, Herefordshire
Exhibition: ‘Genius Loci’, various dates throughout the year (completed exhibition on display from 08 August)
Event: ‘Genius Loci: Strange Magic’, 17 Sept, 6 – 9pm
Environmental artists, Red Earth, will be in residence at Berrington Hall throughout the school holidays, creating a series of installations for outdoor exhibition ‘Genius Loci’.

In partnership with Arts Council England, the project will tell the story of Brown’s work at Berrington alongside the restoration of the parkland.

Visitors can see the artists at work as well as helping to create the installations with map making workshops, reed cutting and binding and the celebratory launch of sculptures onto the lake.

Live song, sound, music and fire draw together the year’s events in an evocative celebration called ‘Strange Magic’.
Price: Normal admission charges apply for ‘Genius Loci’
£10 for ‘Genius Loci: Strange Magic’

To find out about more events taking place at Berrington Hall, visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/berrington-hall/whats-on

Croome, Worcestershire
Exhibition:
Brown at Croome, 25 Sept – end of Dec
Croome was Brown’s first commission, and in this exhibition his time at Croome will be explored through the paintings and archive material on display. Visitors will be able to see Nathaniel Dance’s c1773 portrait of Brown, loaned from the National Portrait Gallery, and Richard Wilson’s 1758 painting of this Brownian landscape. Other exhibits will include personal items on loan from the Hive, such as bills, letters and surveys.
Price: Normal admission charges apply

To find out about more events taking place at Croome, visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/whats-on

Jane Fairweather milk jug

An example of the embroidery on show at Berrington Hall. Created by Jane Fairweather.

Embroiders’ Guild Exhibitions
Multiple dates at Berrington, Croome, Petworth, Fountains Abbey and Stowe

Local Embroiderers’ Guilds exhibit work inspired by ‘Capability’ Brown. Members of the Guilds will interpret the landscape in textiles and stitch to be shown together as an exhibition.

By using techniques as diverse as mixed media, felting, machine and hand stitching, the artists will produce unique and high quality pieces of textile art.

Talk: Richard Wheeler: ‘Brown : Patrons places and Landscape’
03 May at Croome; 06 May at Wimpole; 09 May at Wallington; 09 June at Petworth; 16 June at Sheffield Park; 4 – 7 August at Ashridge; 15 September at Stowe

Join Richard Wheeler, Garden Historian for the National Trust, as he explores how Brown worked with the diverse ideas of his patrons to create a legacy of beautiful landscapes.

Richard is one of the leading experts on Capability Brown, having been responsible for the restoration of Stowe, one of Brown’s most iconic landscape gardens.

Talk and book signing: Sarah Rutherford: Capability Brown and His Landscape Gardens
06 May at Wallington; 10 June at Wimpole; 17 June at Croome; 23 June at Petworth; 7 July at Stowe; 20 August at Sheffield Park; 17 & 18 September at Berrington

Garden Historian Sarah Rutherford is the author of a new book, ‘Capability Brown’, in which she tell Brown’s triumphant story, uncovers his aims and reveals why he was so successful.

During these talks, Rutherford chats through the process of writing the book, discovering Brown and his world, making exciting discoveries about his designs, getting close to him through his family places, letters, plans, design drawings, and how they fit so beautifully into the genius of each place.

End –

For any media enquiries, please contact press.office@nationaltrust.org.uk

 

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