- Watercolour plan for Heveningham Hall by Brown by Kind permission of Historic England Archives
- Heveningham Hall by William Watts in 'The Seats of the Nobility and Gentry' (Private collection)
In 1781 Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was commissioned by Sir Gerard Vanneck to improve the grounds at Heveningham Hall in his last two years.
Capabilty Brown's scheme for Heveningham in Suffolk was the most important of a small group of estates in Suffolk that he worked on in his last two years. His first plan, dated 1781, was for the area immediately around the house and was carried out. The following year he produced a second plan for the wider estate and the 'Alteration and Continuance of the Water'. This proposed widening the stream into a river crossed by two bridges, with the drive to the house running alongside it. The neighbours objected to the scale of the proposed river, so it was replaced by a more modest lake, fed by a spring. The bridge across it is also a dam. Watercolour plans were prepared to show Brown's proposed amendments at Heveningham Hall.
Paid in full
Brown refers to this job in his account book (see online), but does not give the cost of the work. However, his surveyor Samuel Lapidge, later noted that Sir Gerard had paid Brown's executors the sum due.
Heveningham in the 20th century
Heveningham remains in private ownership as a family home. In 1994 it was bought by Jon Hunt, the founder of Foxton's, who has restored the Grade-I listed hall and returned the landscape to Brown's design. A Country Fair is held there annually to raise money for charity and they run a commercial shoot on the estate. The park is listed at Grade II*.
Dorothy Stroud, Capability Brown, Faber & Faber, 1975, pages 197-198
Capability Brown's account book, page 157: www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning/libraries-at-rhs/collections/library-online/capability-brown-account-book
Historic England: historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1000494
Brown's watercolour plans reproduced by kind permission of Historic England Archives: archive.historicengland.org.uk/
A Landscape Lover's Blog https://landscapelover.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/fake-brown/