It’s the birthday of Lancelot Brown, who was born on this day in 1716.
Lancelot ended up at Stowe working for William Kent - the eminent painter and Landscape Architect. Stowe was commissioned in the 1730s. The garden at Stowe was a landscape garden. Lots of straight lines and formality. The garden looked like a painting with an 11-acre lake. The main area was the Elysian Fields; 40 acres featuring buildings and monuments that flank two narrow lakes called the River Styx. The monuments honored the virtuous men of Britain
The time spent with Kent at Stowe not only transformed the land, but it also transformed Lancelot from a gardener into a Landscape Architect. It was his big break.
After Stowe, Brown traveled all over England as a freelancer. Brown’s skill and his nickname came from seeing the “capabilities” of the landscape.
He became so popular that everyone with means wanted a Capability Brown landscape - they craved his garden designs and garden temples. What everyone wanted was beauty and Capability delivered just that: beautiful gardens. Today, at least 20 of his gardens remain and are in the care of England’s National Trust.