NEWS: Father of landscape gardening celebrated

NEWS: Father of landscape gardening celebrated
The 300th birthday of the ‘father of the landscape garden’, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716 – 1783) was celebrated at Orleans House Gallery yesterday, (Wednesday, April 13).
Nicknamed ‘Capability’ on account of his ability to utilise the naturalistic capabilities and potential of the landscape, Brown’s work was celebrated at the launch of the Capability Festival at Orleans House Gallery on Wednesday.
Richmond Council Leader, Lord True, was joined by garden historian and author John Phibbs at the special launch. Orleans House Gallery joined a host of stellar names from across the country to mark this special birthday. Capability’s 300th birthday was marked across Britain this week by a series of exciting events, with many important gardens opening to the public.
Capability designed more than 260 gardens across the country and is the best known English 18th Century garden designer. Catering largely for the changing tastes of the aristocracy, Brownian gardens are instantly recognisable with their vast expanses of sweeping lawns, large lakes, garden buildings, carriage ways and clumped areas of wilderness. They formed an intrinsic part of a much wider development in the aesthetics behind landscape design, which began in early 18th Century England with garden designers Charles Bridgeman (1690 – 1738) Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744) and William Kent (1685 – 1748).
Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts and Culture, Cllr Meena Bond, said:
“Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown was the father of the landscape garden and the Capability festival is a fitting way to mark this occasion. He did so much for the environment not least right here in Richmond. I would encourage as many people as possible to pop along to the gallery and take in some of his finest landscapes.”
Brown became Head Gardener at Hampton Court Palace in 1764 at the age of 48 and moved with his family to Wilderness House. From his base at Hampton Court Brown was responsible for designing a number of key gardens in the local area including Syon Park, Garrick’s Temple, Kew Gardens and Richmond Gardens as well as being inspired and influenced by local poets and artists including Alexander Pope.
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