Introduction: Capability Brown Tercentenary 2016

Whilst this blog was primarily created to promote the life and times of Lancelot Brown, it has to be said that the flame was ignited at an event in June of 2012. Speaking for myself, I’ve been a Brown supporter for many years, having cut my Brownian teeth whilst working at one of his landscapes during the early stages of a restoration. After attending the event this year I personally felt I wanted to do more, and so for the time being have created this blog, a blog to celebrate the life and times of Capability Brown.

The event, hosted by the local council at Ampthill Park in Bedfordshire, was a meeting that aimed to test the strength of feeling and ascertain the level of support for a possible year of celebration in 2016, the 300th anniversary of Brown’s birth.

The Ampthill event was a runaway success, quickly becoming a melting pot of ideas. An open invitation attracted around 150 delegates, who shared experiences and enthusiasm that could make for a fascinating year of celebration in 2016.

Speaking for myself, it was the first time I’d sat with so many people in one place that believed in the work and achievements of Lancelot Brown. For once I wasn’t the only one fascinated by Brownian talk! Like many others, I came away wanting to get involved now, I wanted to push things forward, as appropriately described during a talk by John Phibbs; I was proud to be aboard the bandwagon.

Ampthill Past Tents

Interactive interpretation underway in the Capability Brown landscape at Ampthill.

An official summary can be reached via the link at the bottom of this post, but suffice to say that many of the country’s key landscape and garden organisations were represented, and the strength of support was high. A focus group went away to work up some of the ideas, formulate a plan, and start talking to those who could support. Even at this stage, the list of support is impressive: English Heritage, The National Trust, Natural England, The Association of Gardens Trusts, Visit Britain, Visit England, The Royal Horticultural Society…the list goes on! In addition to this is the vital support from many of Brown’s landscape owners and managers, which includes some of the country’s major tourist attractions, along with private estates who may wish to become involved.

For me, twenty sixteen represents an opportunity to really place Brown on a higher platform, build the recognition that he deserves, and shout his name from the roof tops of some of the greatest mansions in the world – some of which he built! The year also represents an opportunity to bring Browns work to a wider audience, an audience that may become inspired to visit, enjoy, and ultimately contribute.

John Phibbs

John Phibbs interprets the landscape of Ampthill and beyond. Thoroughly engaging and fascinating.

As mentioned above, I was keen to do more, and via this blog, I aim bring you any relevant information as we roll along towards and through 2016. I’m quick to point out that I’m not part of the key organisational group, ‘merely’ a distant supporter with a Brownian focus. I will be doing all I can to promote the efforts involved during the build up to twenty sixteen, and would be happy to share your events, experiences or positive thoughts connected with the Tercentenary Celebration – do get in touch!

I’ll be tweeting via @BROWN2016 if you’d like to join in to, so please do hook up and start tweeting too!

Link to event summary:

Ampthill Launch Event – June 2012 – Debois Summary


About Lancelot Capability Brown

Hello and Welcome to my Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown blog! I thrive on the richness and diversity found within our historic gardens and landscapes and I hope through this blog to paint a picture of Lancelot Brown’s 18th Century world, his landscapes and life. I’d like this blog to spread the Brownian word far and wide, so please join in, suggest post subjects, send in potential articles or links to anything and everything with 'Capability'. I’ll also be looking forward to the Capability Brown Tercentenary Celebration of his birth in 2016, and look forward to an incredible year where the work of Brown can receive more praise and recognition than ever before. I've also launched a Twitter account under the title of @Brown2016 where for the next few years I plan to help spread the word and at the very least play my part in the build-up to a special year for all who enjoy landscape gardening in its true form. All views are my own and do not represent those of any organisation.
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