Two new exhibitions celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Northumbrian-born landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown are opening at the National Trust’s Wallington estate on 11 June.
‘Landscapes of Capability Brown’ will showcase a colourful collection of textile art inspired by Brown’s landscapes and gardens created by members of the North East Embroiderers’ Guild as part of the national Capability Brown Festival.
50 unique pieces, made using techniques as diverse as mixed media, embroidery, painting and appliqué, will be displayed around Wallington’s Georgian mansion, with each piece exploring the different elements that Capability Brown used to create his influential landscape designs, from water and trees to follies and vistas.
Gillian Mason, Wallington’s Visitor Experience Manager, said:
‘We’re delighted to be hosting this exhibition by the North East Embroiderers’ Guild as it adds another dimension to our year-long programme of Capability Brown celebrations.
The Guild members have created beautiful and intricate works of art, many of which take their inspiration from the Wallington estate, including the lake that Capability Brown designed at Rothley, and the exhibition really celebrates this special anniversary in a colourful and unusual way.’
Alongside the embroidery exhibition, a new display in the house also explores Brown’s connection to Wallington and provides a rare opportunity to see five of his original drawings from the Wallington archive alongside maps and plans showing the changing landscape of the estate.
Lloyd Langley, House & Collections Manager at Wallington, said:
‘We’re fortunate to have five original drawings by Brown in our care, showing his designs for one of the lakes at Rothley along with the causeway and banqueting house that he also proposed for the site.
Not only do these plans give us an insight into Brown’s landscaping genius, they also allow us to see him as an artist, as they are all beautifully drawn and include minute details, such as the individual trees that Brown planned to frame the views.’
This display of original drawings by Brown is complemented by other plans and designs from the collection, including three large maps of the Wallington estate that chart its development over the 1700s.
‘It’s unusual for three consecutive plans of an estate to survive from this period and they provide a wealth of information as they show how Wallington developed over the century, as Sir Walter Calverley Blackett set about improving the estate he inherited in 1728.
Being centuries old, Brown’s drawings and the other surviving designs are so delicate they are not often on display but this anniversary year we really wanted to celebrate the success of a local boy who helped to change the style of the English landscape.
Brown was born just two miles away and went to school in the estate village of Cambo so his daily walk to school took him across the parkland. We like to think that the rolling Northumbrian countryside around Wallington inspired Brown’s naturalistic style and we hope this new display will encourage visitors to get out and explore the estate themselves.’
The exhibitions will be open daily 12 – 5pm until 30 October and members of the North East Embroiderers’ Guild will be demonstrating their textile skills in the house every Thursday during the exhibition, 1 – 3.30pm.