Capability Brown at Compton Verney
This year marks the the 300th anniversary of the birth of the truly great English gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and it is being marked by many events in the wonderful landscapes he created for his patrons around the country. It is fitting for me to begin my occasional coverage with Compton Verney where an important restoration project is taking place, thanks to a £2.5 million Heritage Lottery Fund Grant.
Brown would say to prospective clients when viewing their estates that the place had “capabilities” – thus earning his soubriquet. By moving hills, damming rivers to create lakes, and planting trees he literally remade the gardens into what is now celebrated as the quintessential idyllic English landscape. Among the features Brown introduced at Compton Verney were the ice house and a new chapel to replace the old one he had pulled down as it spoilt the view.