A portrait showing a smiling Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown has been selected as the new face of the 2016 festival celebrating the 300th anniversary of his birth.
Brown, often called the ‘father of landscape architecture,’ changed the national landscape and created a style which has shaped people’s picture of quintessential English countryside.
The Capability Brown Festival 2016 is the first-ever nationwide celebration of Brown’s extensive works. It aims to encourage a wider, more diverse audience to visit, learn about, and enjoy Brown’s landscapes. It will run throughout 2016, bringing together a huge range of openings, events and exhibitions, and sparking new and exciting research into Brown and his works.
The Festival has been funded by a £911,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund with the wider project worth in the region of £1.7million. Much of this represents match funding, and funding in kind, from the Festival’s partners and supporters.
The portrait of Brown chosen as the new face of the Festival was painted by Richard Cosway, probably between 1770 and 1775. Cosway (1742-1821) is best remembered as the most fashionable miniaturist of the Regency era, and served as painter to the Prince of Wales before he was crowned as George IV.
The portrait is privately owned. It has been made available to the Festival thanks to the generosity of the owner and Bridgeman Images, which manages the rights to the portrait.
Gilly Drummond, Chairman of the Capability Brown Festival’s Project Management Board, said: “The unveiling of the Richard Cosway portrait as the new face of the Festival is extremely timely, as Capability Brown was born 299 years ago this month. It signals that the countdown to the Festival has well and truly begun.
“The Festival aims to celebrate Capability Brown’s life, work, and the extraordinary legacy he left – both in terms of the rich array of sites attributed to him, and in his on-going influence on landscape design, which has been felt around the world.
“We are extremely grateful to the owner of the portrait, and to Bridgeman Images, for allowing it to be used in connection with the Festival, and we’re looking forward to seeing it being used across the country in 2016.”
As well as the Cosway portrait, the Festival’s branding includes a logo generously designed and donated by Kolab, part of the Ferrier Pearce Creative group. Kolab, one of the Festival’s founding partners, also designed and built the Festival’s website.
There are more than 250 sites associated with Brown across England, with a small handful in Wales. The sites range from small private gardens to larger country estates, and include 12 public parks, some schools and hotels. Many are managed by members of the Historic Houses Association, the National Trust, and English Heritage. An interactive map of the Brown sites can be found on the Festival's website.
© Portrait of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, c.1770-75, Cosway, Richard (1742-1821)/Private Collection/Bridgeman Images