Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Countdown to Capability Brown's 300th Birthday Celebrations begins

Congratulations to all those who worked on the Capability Brown 300 Festival (CB300) funding application.  Their efforts have paid off - the 2016 Festival will receive £139,200 development funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help with the planning of celebrations all over the country.

You might not have realised that the Landscape Institute led the bid for funding.  It worked tirelessly on behalf of an extraordinary partnership of organisations - all sharing our interest in designed historic landscapes and of course, in Capability Brown.  Have a look at  to see  who is involved in this once in a lifetime venture.  Even better, register to keep in touch with what's happening
(Cedar reflection, Compton Verney
copyright Steffie Shields)

What's next? Well, as our very active President, Gilly Drummond, Chair of the Capability Brown 300 Steering Group has pointed out, work has already started.  County Gardens Trust (CGT) volunteers around the country are already researching and collecting material about Brown landscapes from archives and libraries. Once collated, it will be easily accessible on the Parks & Gardens UK website. Anyone visiting Brown landscapes in 2016 will have the very best chance to understand the work of one of history's most influential landscape architects.

The programme of activities being developed will have something for everyone.  Yes, there'll be plenty to intrigue those who are already aware of Brown's work but there will be just as much to engage a new and diverse audience. With the help of  Brown site owners and managers, and with the support of volunteers, it's hoped that at least 150 of Capability Brown's parks and gardens will be open to the public in 2016. What a great opportunity to introduce people of all ages to the pleasure and increased well-being we can all share, outside, reading landscapes and exploring our  heritage.

A training day for CGT and NADFAS volunteers is being planned for later in the year. Keep an eye on the AGT website for further details.

Could Brown's capabilities have helped us with the current flood crisis? Floodwater in my part of the world allowing, I'll be heading to Compton Verney this week to see its 10th anniversary celebratory exhibition - the work of Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin, much of which will be displayed in the Capability Brown designed parkland. The exhibition will be open until 31 August, 2014. If you want to begin to understand Brown's work, this could be a wonderful place to start.

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