This year marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, widely regarded as the forefather of landscape architecture on a magnificent scale. Brown was an innovator who sculpted and shaped whole park-scapes to surround the houses of the wealthy, provide them with comfort, food and amusement and reinforce the ideas of grandeur and elegance that their owners wished to convey.
Brown is celebrated today as a visionary with an uncompromising aesthetic – one which saw him change whole vistas, move mature trees and divert rivers in order to create the quintessentially English views we admire today. Detractors from the ‘great man’ might mention his relentless ability to erase the formal gardens that preceded him, but however Brown’s landscapes make you feel today, there is no escaping the fact they mark a truly original and important chapter in the history of gardens.
Feeling curious to see his work first hand? Then head to some of the very fine examples of his work here in Surrey and West Sussex. What better time to visit than now – when the autumn light is crisp and clear, the trees colourful and the bones of the landscape are visible?
By any standards a magnificent house, floating serenely amongst its rolling, green and watery landscape. This is one of the finest examples of Brown’s work in the region, showcasing his sweeping parkland, glimpsed vistas and classically inspired follies. Don’t miss the exhibition, “Petworth Park Revealed: The Naked Landscape”, which illustrates recent archaeological work on the Petworth estate and shows the extent of Brown’s epic work. For more information see the website at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house-and-park
One of the earliest surviving landscape gardens, (worked on by a number of notable figures, including Brown) Claremont still retains its 18th century design and is a feast for the senses in Autumn. Now maintained by The National Trust, don’t miss the chance to walk around this beautiful garden at the Autumn Glory National Gardens Scheme Day on 9th October. To find out more about Claremont see the website here.
If you’d like to find out more about ‘Capability’ Brown and his work then see the website www.capabilitybrown.org