Drawing out Capability Brown’s buildings

  • 30 Aug 2019
  • Article

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown is rightly famous for his landscapes, and the large-scale plans which he and his office drew up to direct their creation. During his career he fundamentally altered the relationship of the country house with the designed landscape surrounding it, but Brown’s role as the architect of buildings within those landscapes is less well known.

Published today (30 August 2019), Capability Brown's Plans: A Reference Catalogue of Drawings by Brown or his Office (c.1740s–83) Including Architectural Drawings and Landscape Scenes is a new Research Report from Historic England, written by Dr. Sarah Rutherford and Ceryl Evans. It aims to raise the profile of Brown’s work as a buildings architect, showcasing over 100 existing architectural drawings and other drawn material from his office. Published on 30 August, the 203rd anniversary of Brown’s baptism at Kirkharle in Northumberland, the report features ceiling designs originally intended for Burton Constable in East Yorkshire, which were later used at Corsham Court in Wiltshire instead.

At least 77 Historic Houses places include a Capability Brown landscape, and it is hoped that this new report will stimulate further research and new discoveries of Brown’s work as a building architect; it is certain that more drawings and plans exist beyond those currently featured.

This new Drawings catalogue forms a companion volume to Capability Brown’s Plans: A Reference Catalogue of Design Plans and Surveys drawn by Brown or his Office (c.1750-83), published last summer, and is part of the legacy outcomes of the 2016 Capability Brown Festival, in which Historic Houses played a key role.

Ceryl Evans

Ceryl Evans was Director of the Capability Brown Festival 2016, which celebrated the tercentenary of Lancelot Brown’s birth.


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