Capability Brown Festival launches in England and Wales

Thursday 25th February has marked the official launch of the Capability Brown Festival, a major festival of 2016 with hundreds of events taking place over 60 sites in England and Wales

The work of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown will be marked with a major festival of events, celebrating his life, work and legacy in the year of the 300th anniversary of his birth.

Royal Gardener and the grandfather of the profession of landscape architecture, Brown was an engineer, entrepreneur, salesman and extremely effective businessman. It was the combination of these skills which led to his success and his shaping people’s picture of the quintessential English countryside that is recognised throughout the world today.

This new Festival, funded by a £911,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the Landscape Institute, brings together for the first time a range of organisations to tell the story of this great man with more Brown sites made accessible for a wide range of audiences, and volunteers supported to develop their skills to help people understand the landscape as much as the house they may be visiting.

The memorable nickname ‘Capability’ is thought to come from his commenting to potential clients that their estate land had great “capabilities”. On launching the programme, Ceryl Evans, Festival Director said:

“Brown’s amazing career consisted of his advising at around 250 sites covering an area of around 200 square miles, running a business stretching across England and Wales. We are delighted to have so many of these sites taking part in the Festival as they will be helping to tell the story of the impact and importance of this landscaping genius. As part of the legacy of the Festival we want to reach new audiences beyond his existing fans, to those who know nothing of his work but simply enjoy beautiful landscapes.”

Thanks to National Lottery players, the Capability Brown Festival was awarded £911,100 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Jim Dixon, Trustee of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:

“Without Capability Brown we wouldn’t have such a wonderful image of the quintessential English garden and without National Lottery players, it would not be possible to hold this festival to mark his legacy. We’re delighted to be supporting such a unique opportunity to bring together sites from across the country to celebrate the man who shaped them and create new opportunities for people to experience his landscapes and story.”