300 Years of Capability Brown

I’m working steadily on a piece of embroidery for the Embroiderers’ Guild partnership with the Landscape Institute, National Trust and English Heritage who are celebrating 300 years since the birth of noted landscape gardener, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, 1716 – 2016. Work will be shown all around the country at various stately homes, gardens and Knitting and Stitching Shows. I’ve chosen to exhibit at Stansted Park and at such a public venue I want it to be worthy of inclusion, so I’m taking my time.

Living on the Isle of Wight, I chose to base my work on Appuldurcombe House where Capability was called in by Sir Richard Worsely in 1779 to redesign the gardens or rather the landscape. Nothing remains of the plans, but 19th century travelers tell us it included some of his notable features, a gothic ruin – Cooks Castle, an obelisk, a ha-ha to keep out the cattle, without disturbing the view, and groves of noble beech trees indispersed with oaks. Usually water is a prominent feature of his gardens, but this proved difficult at Appuldurcombe. Eventually, in the 1830’s a circular basin with fountain was added.

All I have to show you at the moment is this sample. I am experimenting with a new technique, discovered in Wendy Dolan’s Layer, Paint and Stitch where pieces of different sorts of white and cream fabric, including scrim and lace, are layered to create a new surface before being painted. I have taken a motif from the ornate Freemantle Gate that welcomes visitors from Godshill to incorporate into the design.  I have experimented with stitching it and have also made a print block to stamp the design. The central feature will be in the shape of the Isle of Wight and worked on rug canvas, with stitch and applied felt and fabric.

Capabil blog


One thought on “300 Years of Capability Brown

  1. Good luck as you progress this piece, Greta.

    Appuldurcombe has intrigued me since coming to live on IOW and I don’t think I knew the gardens were the work of Capability Brown. Recently I watched a drama on TV called The Scandalous Lady W, which was about the Sir Richard you mention and his unhappy marriage to Seymour Fleming. I should say that they unhappiness was hers – he seems to have been something of a monster. After watching I had to buy the book, not yet read, but I understand is more factual than the film. Just thought I’d mention, and maybe it will interest you if you didn’t see it / haven’t already read it. The book is here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scandalous-Lady-W-Hallie-Rubenhold/dp/1784701939/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458907935&sr=1-1&keywords=the+scandalous+lady+w

    I’ll be interested to see how this piece comes together. I take it the deadline is approaching….?

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