xxxxxLancelot Brown started his career at Stowe House, Buckinghamshire, working alongside the architect-
LANCELOT (CAPABILITY) BROWN 1715 -
(G1, G2, G3a)
Brown: by the English portrait painter Nathaniel Dance -
xxxxxDuring the middle of the 18th century, the leading English landscape artist Lancelot Brown gained a wide and well-
xxxxxBecause of his keen eye for the "capabilities" of a natural landscape (we would call it "potential" today!) he acquired the nickname "Capability Brown", and this name has stuck. It is a measure of his success that he is still remembered by many people today, long after more influential figures in history have been forgotten! His informal but, be it noted, planned design, catered for curving lawns and paths, groups of trees, artistically placed, and "natural" features like lakes, rivers and sloping hills -
xxxxxWilliam Kent (1684-
xxxxxThe English garden designer William Kent (1684 -
xxxxxBut Kent was also an accomplished architect and interior designer, and had studied painting in Rome for ten years. On his return in 1719 he worked alongside his patron, Richard Boyle, the Earl of Burlington, and both played a leading part -
xxxxxAppointed master carpenter in the Office of Works in 1725, his designs in London included the Treasury, Horse Guards Building in Whitehall, and Chiswick House, designed in collaboration with Burlington, and based on Palladio's Villa Rotonda. In 1727, a few years before beginning his career in architecture, he edited and published a book of Designs by the London architect Inigo Jones.
xxxxxIncidentally, Kent was a friend of the poet Alexander Pope, and helped him to design his garden at his country retreat, Pope's Villa, at Twickenham, then a small town just outside London.
xxxxxBrown was born at Kirkharle, Northumberland and worked as a local gardener's lad before gaining a place at Stowe House, Buckinghamshire, then having one of the finest gardens in the country. It was here that he worked with and under the guidance of William Kent, the recognised creator of the English natural garden. In 1749 he set himself up as an independent consultant on landscape gardening and by 1751 his business had taken off. Over the next twenty years and more he advised on the development of nearly all the large and imposing gardens in England. On occasions, he also created architectural features within his parkland, and turned his hand to the design of a building, as in the case of the chapel at Compton Verney in Warwickshire.
xxxxxBrown died a wealthy and well respected man, renowned for the quality and extent of his work. As the foremost landscape gardener in England, he was succeeded towards the end of the century by Humphry Repton, who modified Brown's style somewhat by the introduction of what was termed the “Picturesque Mode”, a movement led by Sir Uvedale Price and the writer and artist William Gilpin.
xxxxxIncidentally, one of the devices used by Brown in his planning was the "ha-