New exhibition reveals ‘lost’ Capability Brown plan

29.01.2016 | category: Events
© Horsham District Council - Horsham Museum & Art Gallery

A new exhibition in Horsham, West Sussex, showcases Capability Brown’s plan for Hills – a document long considered lost by experts, but rediscovered hiding in plain sight.

The exhibition runs until 12 March 2016 at Horsham Museum and Art Gallery. Despite being considered lost, Brown’s plan for Hills – a Jacobean house with extensive grounds - had in fact been among the district council’s collection.

It takes pride of place in the new exhibition, alongside the original survey of the site carried out on Brown’s behest by Samuel Lapidge – one of two surveyors hired by Brown to help him with his work in 1765.

Lapidge’s survey is dated 1766, and Brown’s plan 1768. Both documents have been enlarged for the display, so that visitors can see close detail, such as the outline of individual trees.

The exhibition also tells the story of the Lord Irwin and his wife Frances, who commissioned Brown at two sites – Temple Newsam, near Leeds, their marital home, and Hills – and features the work of talented botanical artists from the local area.

Jeremy Knight, Museum and Heritage Officer, said: “The original maps are the only things that remain of the gardens.

“Hills Place lies on the outskirts of Horsham, and some 50 years after Brown laid out the grounds the Duke of Norfolk, having bought the town for £93,000, was laying out plans to plough up the gardens turn it in to farmland. He also set about pulling down the large manor house, wiping Hills from the face of Horsham and creating a “lost” garden, the maps being the sole survivors.”

The exhibition, Capability Brown’s Lost Sussex Garden – Hills of Horsham, has been made possible thanks to the support of Toovey’s Auctioneers and Valuers based at Washington, and is free to visit. A brochure has also been produced to accompany the display. This is available in person from the musuem at a cost of £3.50. It can also be sent through the post at a total cost of £5. To order, call 01403 254959.

For more information on the exhibition, including opening times, see the Capability Brown Festival 2016 events listing