Petworth House and Park celebrates ‘Capability’ Brown’s majestic work

Capability Brown
Capability Brown

Petworth House and Park celebrates the anniversary of the nation’s greatest landscape creator.

National Trust spokeswoman Joanna Crosse said: “This spring, one of the country’s most famous 18th-century landscapes launches a year-long celebration of its creator – Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown – in this 300th anniversary year of his birth.

“The majestic 700-acre Petworth Park, which surrounds an equally-magnificent mansion, is one of the finest surviving and unspoilt examples of an English landscape designed by Brown, who transformed it from formal gardens to a pastoral delight.

“From exhibitions of beautiful textiles, artworks, animations and films, to themed walks and talks by historians and archaeologists, Petworth’s Brownian tribute provides a unique insight into this most prolific of landscapers, combining archive material with the latest interactive technology.

“Petworth’s Pleasure Grounds and Park were one of Brown’s earliest large scale commissions (begun in 1753), and considered by many to be his masterpiece, taking 12 years and no fewer than five contracts to complete.

“Walking through Petworth Park today, the landscape gives the impression of being totally natural, but in reality, it could not be more unnatural – an elaborate fake on a truly-epic scale.

“Brown swept away Petworth’s orderly,formal parterres, gardens and giant rampart terraces. In their place he created rolling hills and isolated groups of trees, wide sweeping vistas and curvaceous lakes – all designed to depict a ‘perfect’ vision of a natural landscape, right to the door of the house.

“An admirer of the romanticised settings of Italian classical painting, Brown introduced follies too, while new carriageways ensured the park could be easily admired.”

Capability Brown events at Petworth House and Park include The Embroiderers’ Guild: Celebrating Capability Brown, running until September 4, 11am-4.30pm, normal admission charge only.

To find out more, visit

Also part of the celebrations is Petworth Park Revealed: The Naked Landscape April 16-November 6, 11am-4.30pm, normal admission charge only.

Visit to find out more.

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