The grass may squelch under foot and the sky may yet have more rain for us, but the atmosphere does feel markedly different outside today at Compton Verney. I’ve just returned from carrying out a few odd jobs in the park and was uplifted as always by the flowers that are, despite the weather, out in abundance. Just a few steps from the café exit door there’s a gravel path that leads around the West Lawn, which is actually a wild flower meadow in disguise. For much of the autumn and winter season the lawn remains green just as Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown would have intended, although right now the grassy expanse is beginning its meadow season transformation, and is pierced with bright yellow Common Cowslip flowers held on tall, single stems. (Primula veris).
Whilst the exhibitions and the main gallery do not open until Saturday March 17, I take delight in writing this blog post on the very first of the grounds-only open days of the 2018 season at Compton Verney. After a particularly tough winter period where snow and storm force winds have left their mark, I’m glad to say that the paths are swept, the benches have been cleaned, the welcome centre is warm, and the first flowers of the new year stand proudly awaiting their admirers. As an historic property, Compton Verney works in some ways like estates of this size always have, at this moment in time for example, staff are once again busily working indoors to prepare for the season ahead. Staff duties today of course are more about facilities improvement or exhibition preparation, as opposed to beating exotic rugs or buffing up a fireplace grate or twelve! In a less dramatic way the grounds team of today, whilst flexing to take care of elements such as The Clearing, the Woodland Play Area or Bird Hide; have much the same tasks in hand as gardeners would have for the last three hundred years or so. My team continues to evolve the landscape gardens at Compton Verney with a view to embracing all that it is […]
It would be remiss of me to let another day pass without a word or two about the results achieved at Compton Verney by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. It was Brown’s ‘Place Making’ efforts, in the pursuit of fashion which put the garden on the same page as many other notable landscape gardens in the eighteenth century – a fact that remains as relevant today as then. Invited along, (and paid for!) by the prominent 14th Baron Willoughby de Broke, John Peyto-Verney in 1768, Brown’s work followed that of Robert Adam who had spent the previous eight years updating the house. With a flick of the quill away went the previously fashionable formal garden to be replaced with a new, naturalistic style landscape with trees, serpentine lake plan and rolling acres of grass for farming and leisure pursuits. Teams of labourers and garden staff spent several years transforming the gardens and landscape to Brown’s new design, whilst master tradesmen set to work on a few very notable garden additions. The whole site would have been a hive of activity as the gravel walks, canal and parterres of the previous garden were gradually replaced by smooth lawns connecting the house with the […]
Following the launch of a new book titled Lancelot Brown and the Capability Men – Landscape Revolution in Eighteenth century England, I’m glad to introduce a short talk that is taking place tomorrow, July 6th at Compton Verney, by the authors David Brown and Tom Williamson. For those interested or intrigued by the charismatic Mr Brown, this is a great opportunity to learn more first hand from the authors themselves; respected landscape historians. The talk will of course focus on the Lancelot Brown and the Capability Men book and in doing so will feature facts about the fascinating 18th century landscape garden designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, bringing particular focus to his business and drawing comparisons with similar figures such as the Adam brothers, Thomas Chippendale and Josiah Wedgewood. As you may know, Brown worked at Compton Verney for many years from 1768, creating a rural masterpiece that continues to be nurtured and cared for today. David Brown is Tutor of Landscape History at the University of Cambridge. Tom Williamson is Professor of Landscape History at the University of East Anglia. His books include Polite Landscapes: Gardens and Society in Eighteenth-century England (1998). Enquiries: If you’d like to find out more about the […]
We caught up with Dr. Sarah Rutherford, author of The World of Capability Brown, as she prepares to give a fascinating talk on ‘Discovering Brown’ on 19 May at Compton Verney.
Extension of deadline for Horticultural Apprentice! Deadline for applications now Mon 23 May 2016. A brief summary of the vacancy is below, but please click through to the Compton Verney website page at the bottom of the post for further information and application form. It is a great learning opportunity, working at an historic landscape garden, originally designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. This new role will include two years of training in a working environment, alongside the grounds team of staff and volunteers at Compton Verney. The individual will work to property, departmental and organisational objectives, whilst furthering knowledge and experience of supporting a landscape garden. This is a hands-on role, assisting in the delivery of high quality landscape and garden maintenance, and in due course with the planning, management and delivery of grounds based projects, to include visitor engagement and interpretation. Under supervision and guidance from Head of Landscape and Gardens, the candidate will acquire Level 1 or 2 work based diploma in Horticulture (Parks, Gardens and Green Space) in association with Warwickshire College. The role is a fascinating one, giving opportunity to learn whilst working in a fabulous and diverse heritage and arts location, with a great team of people. We […]