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Capability Brown website goes live

Capability Brown website goes live

Press release: 16 September 2013

New Capability Brown website is launched as countdown to 300th Birthday celebrations begin

An influential group of organisations, landowners and individuals have come together to create a website dedicated to the life and work of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown as the first step towards marking the 300th anniversary of his birth in 2016. The Capability Brown 300 Celebration and Festival website can be found by visiting It is being created by Kolab and will be completed in three phases. Once completed it will be the first website to commemorate Brown’s work and legacy, provide an extensive directory of the many landscapes he created and host a portal of forthcoming events and activities taking place in the Birthday year.

Organisations including English Heritage, National Trust, Visit Britain and the Landscape Institute are behind a nationwide celebration of Capability Brown’s life and landscape legacy. Capability Brown 300 Celebration and Festival will bring the beauty and importance of Brown’s landscapes to a wider audience, celebrate the legacy of one of history’s most influential landscape architects and encourage people to visit and enjoy the many landscapes he created, which include Blenheim Palace, Alnwick, Warwick Castle and Chatsworth. Over two centuries have passed since his death, but such are the enduring qualities of his work that over 150 of the 260 or so landscapes with which he is associated remain worth seeing today. The images that Brown created are as deeply embedded in the English character as the paintings of Turner and the poetry of Wordsworth.

Gilly Drummond, Chair of the Capability Brown 300 Steering Group, said:
“The Capability Brown website is the first step towards a major celebration of the life and work of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in 2016. The website will be home to news stories, events information and progress reports as well as providing the first ever directory of Brown’s landscapes and gardens in the UK. We’re inviting people to sign-up now for regular updates as we start to count down to the Capability Brown 300 Celebration and Festival in 2016.”

Nigel Farrier, Executive Chairman of Kolab, the company creating the website, said: “I have a personal connection to Capability Brown as I live in a house he once owned.

As the 300th Birthday approaches we have a fantastic opportunity to recognise the outstanding contribution Capability Brown made to the gardens and landscape of this country. Brown had extraordinary vision - as did the people who commissioned him. This new website is an exciting first step in ensuring that legacy is properly recognised and celebrated.”

Visit to find out more and to sign-up for updates in the run up to Capability Brown 300 Celebration and Festival 2016.


Notes to Editors:

Further information:
Paul Lincoln Director of Policy and Communications Landscape Institute 020 7685 2646

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716-1783) is the creator of the ‘English landscape style’ and is regarded by landscape architects as the father of their profession.

His surviving landscapes include the World Heritage Site at Blenheim; sites on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens; listed buildings; scheduled monuments; sites of special scientific interest; semi-natural ancient woodlands; and local sites of important nature conservation.

Brown's landscapes also include designs for the settings of many of the greatest houses in the country, including Blenheim Palace, Alnwick, Chatsworth, Bowood, Warwick Castle and Croome, where he also built the main house for Lord Coventry. At Buckingham Palace, Brown did an undated plan for the garden when it was purchased by George III and he proposed a lake for St James’s Park similar to that constructed.

The 300th Birthday of Capability Brown in 2016 is an opportunity to understand his legacy and to increase appreciation and enjoyment of his landscapes.

To prepare for this important celebration an influential group of organisations, owners and individuals with a passion for Brown’s landscape legacy, have created the Capability Brown 300 Celebration and Festival. Partners include the Association of Gardens Trusts, English Heritage, the Garden History Society, the Historic Houses Association, the National Gardens Scheme, Natural England, Parks & Gardens UK, Visit Britain, the National Trust and the Landscape Institute.

Other organisations, owners and their estate teams and head gardeners, trusts, museums and galleries, institutes, colleges and schools are welcome to join this national partnership too.

~ To celebrate Capability Brown as an artist and landscape designer
~ To encourage an increased number of people to visit, learn about and enjoy Brown’s landscapes
~ To encourage a greater appreciation of our designed landscape heritage

~ To open as many Brown landscapes, houses and features as possible during 2016 including sites that are not usually open to the public
~ To engage volunteers in all aspects of the 2016 celebrations
~ To promote the understanding of Brown’s art and designs and his influence through supporting and encouraging the development of television programmes, books, and exhibitions
~ To stimulate new research
~ To encourage and stimulate conservation projects
~ To champion and develop conservation skills
~ To apply for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant for the costs of coordinating the 2016 celebrations and attract other funding and sponsorship

From 2014 to the end of 2015 we will be working with thousands of volunteers and the owners of Brown landscapes to make preparations for encouraging visitors to their sites and producing information about the history and significance of these important landscapes ready for a launch in early 2016.

Birthday Events and activities
An array of events and activities are being planned for 2016, some will be arranged directly by the partnership and others will be locally organised but will benefit from coordinated publicity.
~ Thousands of volunteers opening as many sites as possible
~ An online calendar of events and activities
~ Hub sites and exploration days to provide information, guidance, interpretation, visitor attraction ideas and support to other sites
~ Online discussion forum for owners and managers
~ National series of guides and site notes
~ Online guidance on Brown landscape conservation, biodiversity, management and public access; and special restoration projects
~ A major London exhibition and regional exhibitions
~ A commemorative Royal Mail stamp
~ New research by universities, students and volunteers, including collating a national reference resource for all sites on the Parks and Gardens UK online database
~ Showcase the work of related professionals to promote landscape conservation
~ Conferences, courses, lecture series, and tours – on foot, on bicycle and even on carriages
~ New books by a range of Brown experts