Capability Brown festival wins Heritage Lottery Fund funding boost

A plan to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown with a nationwide festival has received grants of £905,200.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has approved initial support of £905,200, including £139,200 development funding for the Capability Brown Birthday and Festival, run by a consortium of organisations, landowners and individuals led by the Landscape Institute.

They plan to celebrate the legacy of Brown, creator of the ‘English landscape style’ and bring it to the attention of a wider audience. A website is already live.

Brown’s surviving landscapes include the World Heritage Site at Blenheim Palace, Highclere Castle (the location of the ITV series Downton Abbey), Alnwick, Chatsworth, Syon Park and Compton Verney.

Other organisations involved include the Association of Gardens Trusts, NADFAS, English Heritage, the Garden History Society, the Historic Houses Association, the National Gardens Scheme, Natural England, Parks & Gardens UK, Visit Britain, Visit England, Kolab and the National Trust.

Chair of the Capability Brown 300 Steering Group Gilly Drummond said: "Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and a marvellous partnership we can now give Capability Brown, England's greatest landscape artist, his due recognition and spread the understanding and enjoyment of his genius for sustainable landscape design to a much wider audience, both nationally and internationally.

"We will move at speed to ensure that Capability Brown's Birthday Celebrations and Festival 2016 will delight and inform as many people as possible all over the country. With the help of owners and managers and the support of volunteers, we hope to be able to have a huge number of Brown's parks and gardens open to the public in 2016."

Director of policy and communications at the Landscape Institute Paul Lincoln, said the festival would help build knowledge about Brown and fix him at the forefront of modern thinking on design and management of the natural environment.

HLF head of landscape and natural heritage Drew Bennellick said: "We are delighted to be giving initial support towards this project which offers the chance for more people to understand, experience and enjoy the beauty of Brown’s creations, many of which have benefitted from our past investment."

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