This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Place-making

Front cover for Place-making: The art of Capability Brown

The art of Capability Brown

Paperback by John Phibbs

£60.00

Buy from bookshop
Lancelot 'Capability' Brown (1716-1783) is the iconic figure at the head of the English landscape style, a tradition that has dominated landscape design in the western world. He was widely acclaimed for his genius in his own day and his influence on the culture of England has arguably been as great as that of Turner, Telford and Wordsworth. Yet, although Brown has had his biographers, his work has generated very little analysis.

Brown was prolific; he has had a direct influence on half a million acres of England and Wales. The astonishing scale of his work means that he did not just transform the English countryside, but also our idea of what it is to be English and what England is. His work is everywhere, but goes largely unnoticed. His was such a naturalistic style that all his best work was mistaken for untouched nature. This has made it very difficult to see and understand. Visitors to Brown landscapes do not question the existence of the parkland he created and there has been little professional or academic analysis of his work.

This book for the first time looks at the motivation behind Brown's landscapes and questions their value and structure whilst at the same time placing him within the English landscape tradition. It aims primarily to make landscape legible, to show people where to stand, what to look at and how to see.

Contents

  • Introduction
  • PART I - The five elements
    Grass
    Silviculture
    Water
    Buildings
    Ground
  • PART II - How landscapes worked
    Planting
    Farming
    People
    Fences
    Roads
    Gardens
    Sport
  • PART III - How landscape was designed and what it meant
    The determinants of landscape
    The constraints upon design
    The reconciliation of house and setting
    Geometry
    Imagination
    Layers of meaning
    The evolution of the style
  • PART IV - The attack on Brown and his defence
    The assassination of Capability Brown
    Towards the ending

Additional Information

  • Printed Price: £60.00
  • Series: Architectural History
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Format: Paperback
  • Physical Size: 276 x 219 mm
  • Pages: 384
  • Illustration: 209, colour
  • ISBN: 9781848023567

Accessibility

If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Fax: 01793 414926
Textphone: 0800 015 0516
Email: customers@HistoricEngland.org.uk

Was this page helpful?

Place-making: The art of Capability Brown image gallery

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • 'Capability' Brown by Nathaniel Dance-Holland
  • Aerial view of Chillington Hall, Staffordshire
  • View across Long Water towards the Thomas Archer Pavilion, Wrest Park, Bedfordshire
  • Aerial view of the ha-ha at Wardour (New Wardour Castle, Wiltshire), marked by a line of bushes
  • Aerial view of Audley End, Cambridgeshire
  • Aerial view of Croome Court, Worcestershire, with recently redug ha-ha
  • Aerial view of Sledmere House and Park, Yorkshire

Related publications

Also of interest...