They say that a picture paints a thousand words, and this is never truer than with aerial photography. Nothing allows the viewer to understand a landscape and the various features set within it, than a bird’s eye view.
As part of their regular programme of aerial reconnaissance, Historic England has been photographing parks, gardens and landscapes associated with Lancelot 'Capability' Brown for many years. More recently, they have been targeting sites in the lead up to the 300th anniversary of his birth. They have taken thousands of photographs of the main buildings, structures and landscape features within his parks, as well as more general views.
7,000 of these images are now available to the public via an interactive web-based map covering the most important of his landscapes within England. The map pulls together images of over 100 of Brown’s most significant parks, gardens and landscapes in England.
The vast majority of these sites have been given protection and are listed on the National Heritage List for England as Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For each of these sites, there is a link to the list entry that gives details of the site and the various elements within it that make it special. For those few parks not currently included on the register there is a link to the relevant entry on the Parks and Gardens UK database.
Within each landscape there are a series of dots marking the location of the centre of the image taken of the site. Clicking on the dot brings up a small pop-up with details of when the image was taken together with a thumbnail of the image itself. Clicking on the image brings up a link to the actual image which is available to use. Should you require a larger image there is also a link in the pop-up to the Historic England Archive where you can order one.
Historic England hope that this will prove to be a valuable resource to researchers into the work of the great man.
They will be adding more images to the map in the next few months.
The photographs shown form part of the Historic England Archive - over 12 million items relating to the architecture, archaeology and social history of England.
Explore the map by clicking here.
About the author: Celia Knight, Historic England.