Happy Birthday Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown

The grounds of Highclere Castle (known in the USA as Downton Abbey) landscaped by Capability Brown

Tony Back

2016 marks the 300th birthday of England’s most famous landscape gardener, Lancelot “Capability” Brown.  His precise birthday is unknown but he was baptised on the 30th of August. Brown was the Master Gardener at Hampton Court for King George III (Farmer George) and was a must-have to design landscapes for any estate house of the landed gentry.

I took these photos at Highclere Castle, near Newbury on the Hampshire/Berkshire border.


Jackdaw Folly 4
Jackdaw folly at Highclere
Highclere sheep 1
lines of trees with large spacious fields for sheep was essential
Those Cedar trees were always in his landscapes
Secret garden, walled off so that one or two types of flower could not detour from the main colour: Green

Copses of trees shading crocuses contrast with wide open space. Several shades of ‘green and pleasant land’. Any flowers would not detour and would often be hidden behind secret walled gardens.


For a more in depth post about Capability Brown gardens in Hampshire, England, this post by the Southampton University archive is worth reading – click here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s