Capability Brown 2016

Noble Prospects: Capability Brown and the Yorkshire Landscape

Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate 25 June to 11 September 2016

Scampston by Francis Nicholson c.1790. Courtesy of the Legard family.

For details of the accompanying book, click here

To view the film by Simon Warner, see

The Yorkshire Gardens Trust and the Mercer Art Gallery joint exhibition was dedicated to the Yorkshire landscapes of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716-1783). The exhibition in summer 2016 celebrated the tercentenary of the birth of Brown but also marked the twentieth-anniversary of the founding of the Yorkshire Gardens Trust.

Brown was the leading landscape designer of the second-half of the eighteenth century and there are around 20 sites in Yorkshire associated with him, one of the greatest concentrations in the country. The landscape garden is recognised as one of Britain’s greatest artistic achievements and the designs of Brown and his contemporaries influenced gardens across the world.

The Mercer exhibition featured portraits of Brown and his Yorkshire clients, original plans, drawings and documents by Brown, paintings of his creations and works of art that inspired his landscapes. New research is included in the accompanying book, considering each of the landscapes and with specially-commissioned photography.

Art and Landscape, False Perspectives, a new work by artist Kate Whiteford inspired by Brown’s landscapes was also shown at the Mercer. Photographer Simon Warner was commissioned by the Yorkshire Gardens Trust and the Mercer Art Gallery to make a film exploring Brown’s Yorkshire landscapes as they look today.

The Yorkshire Gardens Trust was formed in 1996 to promote and protect the parks, gardens and designed landscapes of Yorkshire. The Mercer Art Gallery is run by Harrogate Borough Council.

Noble Prospects: Capability Brown & the Yorkshire Landscape is generously sponsored by Savills, The Landscape Agency, Saffery Champness and Coutts. It is funded by Harrogate Borough Council, Natural England, the Calmcott Trust and private donors. It benefits from a Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Research Grant from the ArtFund. Individual exhibits are supported by the HHA Friends in Yorkshire, the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, the Friends of the Mercer Art Gallery and Mr & Mrs J. Samuel.

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Past Events

Learn more about past events.

National CB300 website

The CB300 website celebrating 300 years of Capability Brown’s stunning landscape designs has now gone live at Click on the link to explore the site and to quote them, Discover, Learn and Enjoy.

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