Inspiration

Capability Brown is 300

This year marks 300 years since the birth of renowned English landscape architect, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, so what better time to visit one of his many gardens that surround some of the finest country estates and houses across Yorkshire. Enjoy the expansive grounds of Scampston Hall near Malton and explore the Cascade Circuit, a peaceful area perfect for a quiet stroll. In typical Capability Brown style, the park incorporates a series of lakes and naturalistic planting providing magnificent views.

After inheriting a vast wealth in 1753, Edwin Lascelles employed Brown in 1775 to transform the gardens of Harewood House near Leeds. The naturalistic landscape that was created included key Brownian features such as the 32 acre serpentine lake, cascade and encircling carriage drives which you can still see today. The immense scale of his vision took six years to complete and the stunning vistas have even been captured by the likes of renowned artist JMW Turner.

The 300 acres of historic Grade II listed parkland that surround the Hall at Burton Constable are a truly stunning place to visit. Commissioned to landscape the park in 1772, Brown transformed it by creating two lakes from a series of fishponds, separated by a magnificent bridge. He also created a ha-ha wall and planted thousands of trees and sunk fences, which along with the bridge have recently been lovingly restored.

After 200 years as ruins, during the 18th century ‘Capability Brown’ was contracted to bring ‘order’ to the valley in which Roche Abbey was situated. He achieved this by engineering a lake where the southern buildings once stood as well as creating a waterfall and incorporating irregular tree group planting in the surrounding fields. He even levelled part of the ruin walls to make way for a grassed foreground, to provide a view from a banqueting lodge. Much of this work has since been undone in order to restore the medieval ruins of the abbey.

The park at Sledmere House near Driffield was designed by Brown in 1777 and the plans still survive in the house to this day. Today, the tranquil grounds are surrounded by trees and the gardens include a paved sculpture court, an 18th century walled rose garden as well as a recently laid out knot garden.

Explore the park and gardens of Temple Newsam in Leeds and discover a stunning 18th century landscape with intimate formal gardens full of scent and colour. Brown was commissioned to create a serene and picturesque landscape for Charles Ingram, the 9th Viscount Irwin in the 1760’s. Although his plan was not fully followed, his vision can still be seen in the open grassland, woodlands, views and vistas that can still be seen today.

Visit the Mercer Art Gallery for ‘NOBLE PROSPECTS: Capability Brown and the Yorkshire Landscape’ from 25th June to 11th September for an exhibition of paintings, drawings and manuscripts celebrating the work of ‘Capability’ Brown.

This article comes from our 2016 Spring Guide