Capability drops in for a stopover at Trentham Gardens

A striking statue of Lancelot “Capability” Brown – the renowned landscape garden designer whose tercentenary has been celebrated throughout 2016 – has gone on show at the award-winning Trentham Gardens.

The bronze statue has been a part of an international sculpture exhibition at Doddington Hall near Lincoln, and is soon due to take up permanent residence beside the River Thames in Hammersmith close to where Brown lived for thirteen years.

Prior to its journey south, however, it has now gone on show until next spring at The Trentham Estate, which has been a focus of attention this year thanks to the ongoing project to rediscover the Capability Brown-designed landscapes in the parkland and around the famous lake.

Sculptor Laury Dizengremel, the Artist-In-Residence for Belvoir Castle in the East Midlands, created the statue of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in clay using Brown’s portrait by Cosway for his likeness, then had a mould made and cast it in traditional lost-wax bronze. Whilst copies could be made for other locations around the world, Trentham will host this original life-sized bronze statue, which weighs approximately 207kg, is the first ever life size full figure sculpture of Brown and stands on its own plinth in the same way it did at Doddington Hall.

The arrival of the statue is being seen as yet another coup for The Trentham Estate.

A leading estate in 18th century Britain, The Trentham Estate became one of Brown’s most celebrated successes, and is still involved in an ongoing project aimed at rediscovering Capability’s lost landscape.

Brown (1716-1783) was known as the ‘father of landscape architecture’, and worked on over 260 sites across England and Wales during the mid-18th Century. His landscapes are naturalistic, featuring curving lines, flowing lakes and picture perfect viewpoints all carefully crafted to appear in the landscape for the enjoyment of people exploring the grounds.

His nickname ‘Capability’ came from his fondness of saying that landscapes showed great capability for improvement.

“Brown was employed at Trentham from 1759 to 1780 and created the mile long lake and the surrounding parklands in the gardens,” says Head of Garden and Estate, Michael Walker. “As such, The Trentham Estate is an excellent resting place for the statue of the great man himself.”

Described as the “garden make-over of the decade” by The Daily Telegraph, Staffordshire’s Trentham Gardens also took the title of the UK’s “Garden of the Year” in the annual BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards in 2015.

Also boasting the statue of Perseus, which enjoyed a starring role at the Royal Academy of Art in London in 2012, and the perennially eye-catching Trentham Fairy Trail, Trentham’s historic Gardens and Parkland have been in the headlines throughout 2016 as a leading example of a Capability Brown parkland, during a project which has seen it be rediscovered, and moved forward with contemporary plantings on a truly vast scale.

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