Enfilade

Exhibition | Noble Prospects: Capability Brown and Yorkshire

Posted in books, exhibitions by Editor on August 21, 2016

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Now on view at The Mercer Art Gallery, with more information from the Capability Brown Festival:

Noble Prospects: Capability Brown and the Yorkshire Landscape
The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, 25 June — 11 September 2016

The great landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716–1783) changed the face of eighteenth-century English parkland, creating a magical world of woods, water and swathes of green that lives on until this day in Yorkshire. This Mercer Art Gallery exhibition is the first ever dedicated to the Yorkshire landscapes of this legendary designer to mark the 300th anniversary of his birth, devised in partnership with the Yorkshire Gardens Trust.

Installation view of the exhibition “Noble Prospects: Capability Brown and the Yorkshire Landscape,” The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, 2016. Photo by Simon Miles.

Installation view of the exhibition “Noble Prospects: Capability Brown and the Yorkshire Landscape,” The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, 2016. Photo by Simon Miles.

Capability Brown is the creator of some of Yorkshire’s most admired landscapes, which include Burton Constable, Harewood, Roche Abbey, Scampston, Sledmere and Temple Newsam. This unique exhibition brings together an intriguing collection of artworks, which reveal more about the designer and his designs. Drawn largely from Yorkshire collections the show features portraits of Capability Brown and his Yorkshire clients, original plans, drawings and documents by Brown, paintings of his creations as well as works of art that inspired his landscapes.

Capability Brown was the leading landscape designer of the second-half of the eighteenth century and there are thought to be 20 sites in Yorkshire associated with him. He rejected the very formal geometric French style of gardening and concentrated on echoing the natural undulations of the English landscape in his plans. The landscape garden is recognised as one of Britain’s greatest artistic achievements and the designs of Brown and his contemporaries have influenced gardens across the world.

Noble Prospects: Capability Brown and the Yorkshire Landscape is supported by The Landscape Agency, Saffery Champness, Savills, Coutts, Harrogate Borough Council, The Capability Brown Festival 2016, Art Fund, Natural England, The Calmcott Trust, The Friends of the Mercer Art Gallery, Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, Historic Houses Associations Yorkshire Friends, Mr and Mrs J. Samuel and private donors. The Yorkshire Gardens Trust, an educational charity founded in 1996, works to help conserve, protect and promote Yorkshire’s rich heritage of parks, gardens and designed landscapes.

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From the Yorkshire Gardens Trust:

Karen Lynch, Noble Prospects: Capability Brown and the Yorkshire Landscape (Yorkshire Gardens Trust, 2016), 72 pages, £12.

Noble Prospects ExhibitionThe development of a new natural style of laying out parks in the eighteenth century is acknowledged to be one of the greatest artistic achievements in British history. One man’s name is indelibly linked with the profession of landscape gardening: Lancelot Brown. Achieving great renown in his own lifetime he became universally known by his affectionate nickname ‘Capability’, and whilst fashions in design have come and gone, his fame remains great three hundred years after his birth. This new publication celebrates Capability Brown’s work in Yorkshire and is the culmination of two years of research to identify just what Brown did in this vast county. It features contemporary views by artists such as J.M.W. Turner and Paul Sandby as well as works by amateur artists who admired the landscapes they visited. Also illustrated are designs by Brown and portraits of the man and his Yorkshire clients. Stunning newly commissioned photography by artist Simon Warner shows the parks as they look today.

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