Monday, 2 July 2012

Capability Brown Tercentenery

You probably already know that it will be Capability Brown's Tercentenery in 2016. But you might not have heard about the ground-breaking seminar hosted by Ampthill Town Council to launch the  Tercentenery celebration project.

For the first time ever, owners and managers from some of the two hundred or so Brown landscapes got together with landscape consultants and representatives from the County Gardens Trusts for a brainstorming session.  It's no exaggeration to say that it was an historic occasion.

As Steffie Shields, our Vice Chairman (and Brown expert) reminded us, Brown was certainly a polymath and quite possibly a genius.  Much of the landscape that we enjoy today and consider to be 'natural' is in fact a result of his work.  The aim of the 2016 project is to get more people out, exploring, understanding and enjoying his legacy.

It was very encouraging to see just how much expertise and enthusiasm there was at the Ampthill seminar. But how are we going to make good use of it?  What happens next?

Ampthill Park
The easy option would be to preach to the converted  - but that won't be good enough.  We know we need to reach people who've never heard of Capability Brown. But as one delegate told us, even that could be too short-sighted a goal. We can't just think about new audiences for 2016, we also need to reach those who will care about Brown landscapes in 2025 and beyond.

So how can those of us involved in the project share our knowledge with each other as efficiently as possible? How can we reach people who've never heard of Brown?  It's their heritage too.
How can we help the owners of Brown landscapes to open their properties so that local people can learn about what is on their doorstep? How can we educate the next generation in the heritage skills that are needed to keep Brown landscapes alive? Let us know what you think.

This will be a major celebration in 2016. As our President, Gilly Drummond told the delegates, we have to find innovative ways to inspire, educate and entertain our new audiences. Gilly has suggested a 'Brown geocache'. If you have any suggestions of your own, let me know and I'll pass them on.

Get thinking!

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