|View towards Vanbrugh's Grand Bridge (built in 1710) at Blenheim Palace, September 2010|
Capability Brown re-landscaped over 2,000 acres of parkland surrounding the palace (1764 to 1774)
Lancelot Brown was nicknamed 'Capability' because he had a habit of telling his clients their estates had a 'great capability' i.e. potential for the kind of sweeping changes which made his fortune.
Sadly Capability Brown and his contemporaries swept away many of the gardens which pre-dated their work via the 18th Century's English landscape movement. However, the movement's legacy still has much to be admired.
Now 2016 is set to have a 'great capability' as far as garden visits and events are concerned. In addition to the usual suspects, there is the long awaited festival to celebrate the tricentenary of Capability Brown's birth. You can find out which events are happening near you here.
|Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire, October 2010|
Then there are Brown's gardens and landscapes, and I've included views from some I've visited so far in this post. He was involved with more than 250 and the biggest number ever will open as part of the festival, including many not usually open to the public.
Lots of those usually open are found in the care of either the National Trust or the Historic Houses Association (over 70 of them in the case of the HHA). Therefore membership of either or both organisations is worth considering if you plan to visit lots of gardens during the festival (hint, hint to NAH re the HHA and Christmas).
|View during the Illuminating Lacock Abbey event, January 2014|
Here's an interactive map to find out which gardens are near you. As far as Wiltshire is concerned, I have a choice from 10: Bowood (HHA), Charleton, Chute Lodge, Corsham Court (HHA), Lacock Abbey (NT), Longford Castle, Longleat (HHA), Tottenham, Wardour Castle and Wilton House (HHA).
No wonder VisitEngland has designated 2016 as the Year of the English Garden.
|Trentham Gardens, Staffordshire, June 2010|
You may also like
- Everything you need to know about Capability Brown - a good summary from The Telegraph
- Lots of information about Capability Brown, the landscapes he created and 2016's events can be found on the dedicated Capability Brown website
- The Brown Advisor - a fantastic blog which aims to give the answer to 300 FAQs sent in about the man
- My visits to 2 Capability Brown gardens in addition to those shown already: Dunham Massey's winter garden (NT) in 2009 and Luton Hoo in 2013
NB Dyrham Park is looked after by the National Trust and Blenheim Palace is a member of the Historic Houses Association.