He became arguably the most famous landscape gardener in English history and was described as ‘the Shakespeare of Gardening’ by the German prince, Hermann Puckler-Muskau. Visit our exhibition, which celebrates the remarkable achievements of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.
Bill Bryson, honorary OBE and FRS, best-selling author, President of Campaign to Protect Rural England and a Commissioner of English Heritage, wrote of Capability Brown:
“Brown created landscapes that were in a sense ‘more English’ than the countryside they replaced, and did it on a scale so sweeping and radical that it takes some effort now to imagine just how novel it was.”
“The landscape of much of lowland England today may look timeless but it was in large part an eighteenth-century creation, and it was Brown more than anyone who made it.”
Being a humorous author, Bryson also recounts that tale that, “Brown was once offered £1,000 to do an estate in Ireland, but declined, saying that he hadn’t done all of England yet.”
Brown himself walked to school from Kirkharle to Cambo every day, a distance of five miles, and the landscape, through which he walked, stimulated his imagination. He began his gardening career under Sir William Loraine at Kirkharle, but his dreams of limitless landscapes in ‘an image of heaven’ had to wait until he moved south some 23 years later, establishing his considerable reputation and making his fortune.
If you appreciate English landscape, what you really appreciate is Capability Brown. Come and visit his birthplace, and first workplace then take a moment to enjoy the lake, recently restored according to Brown’s original plans.
Actor and Television Presenter, Robson Green, recently filmed here at Kirkharle for episode one of the series ’Further Tales of Northumberland with Robson Green’. Watch a clip from the episode about the work we’ve been carrying out at Kirkharle to realise Brown’s vision of Kirkharle.
© Portrait of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, c.1770-75, Cosway, Richard (1742-1821) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images