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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ornate

Architect Charles Barry's country house Highclere - better known now as "Downton Abbey"
Architect Charles Barry’s country house Highclere (view of back)  – more famous as the “Downton Abbey” filming location.

Highclere Castle was designed by Charles Barry (1795 – 1860) who, in the same style,  remodelled The Houses of Parliament in London.

Highclere Castle is a country house in the Jacobethan style, in a park designed by Capability Brown.  Located near the village of Highclere, in Hampshire, England, UK – It was the seat of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon.

Carnarvon, along with Carter, famously discovered the Tomb of the Pharaoh, Tutankhamun.  The Castle itself houses one of the most important collections of Egyptology in Britain, outside the British Museum.  It is open for public viewing during the Summer.  However Highclere has become more of a tourist attraction in the last few years because it was the main filming location for the period drama Downton Abby.   Before that it was the film set for the British comedy series Jeeves and Wooster with acting duo Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.

Click on the photo for a close up look of the ornate frills.  Or click here to see more challenges or enter one yourself:  weekly photo challengeOrnate by The Daily Post