Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown

(2477 words)
  • Caroline Holmes (University of Cambridge)

The name of “Capability Brown” evokes a landscape of sheep gently grazing in grassy parkland, punctuated by trees and a naturalistic lake, an image exported around the world via France as le jardin anglais and for which he was largely responsible. Brown was arguably the most important landscape designer in British history.

Lancelot Brown was born in Kirkharle, Northumberland in 1716 into a farming family and attended school at nearby Cambo until he was sixteen. It can be assumed he was naturally intelligent and received a good basic education since he later became adept in the various skills required of a landscaper, hydraulic engineer, architect, artist and scientist, and had the ability to converse cogently …

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Holmes, Caroline. "Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2004
[, accessed 07 July 2015.]