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Noble Prospects: Capability Brown and the Yorkshire Landscape

3rd March 2016

Categories: News

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.

In 2016 the Mercer Art Gallery will unveil the first exhibition dedicated to the Yorkshire landscapes of this legendary designer to mark the 300th anniversary of his birth. Noble Prospects: Capability Brown and the Yorkshire Landscape, a show devised in partnership with the Yorkshire Gardens Trust, opens at the Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate on 25 June and runs to 11 September 2016.

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.

Val Hepworth, Chair of the Yorkshire Gardens Trust says:
‘2016 will be a very special year, the tercentenary of the birth of Capability Brown as well as the 20th anniversary of the Yorkshire Gardens Trust. Many of Brown’s parks in Yorkshire are publicly accessible giving much pleasure to so many. We are very excited at the prospect of the exhibition at The Mercer Art Gallery which we are sure will encourage more people to visit designed landscapes and enjoy Brown’s legacy in the years ahead.’  

Noble Prospects: Capability Brown & the Yorkshire Landscape opens at The Mercer Art Gallery on 25 June to 11 September 2016, admission is free. Opening times are 10am – 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday and 2 – 5pm on Sundays. Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays.

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