In an innovative project to provide a new and lasting memorial to Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, and to bring his life and works to a new generation, the pupils of Fenstanton and Hilton Primary School have created a stained glass memorial window, dedicated by David Thomson, Bishop of Huntingdon, on 28 August, and unveiled at Fenstanton Church Centre, on 3 September by Gilly Drummond, Vice-President for Life of The Gardens Trust and chair of the Capability Brown Festival 2016.
Sixty excited six-year-olds walked the National Trust Wimpole estate to view Brown’s signature landscape features. Working with stained glass artist Sarah Hunt, Year 1 children then visited the workshop at the Stained Glass Museum in Ely Cathedral and learned about the ancient art of glass-making from 'Theophilus', a 12th Century monk. Each child worked with glass-cutters and grozing-pliers to create an individual glass tile for the window border. Teacher Marion Barber and Sarah Hunt then led the children in sketching elements of Brown’s landscape that were combined in a full-size cartoon. A whole-school landscape colouring competition gave Sarah further inspiration for the final design. The result is a colourful, original and eye-catching work that will engage current and future generations of schoolchildren, villagers and visitors to Fenstanton for many years to come.
The project was conceived by Judith Christie, research coordinator for Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust and part-funded by the audience development strand of the Capability Brown Festival. Jill Donnelly secured match funding from the Huntingdon, Area and National levels of NADFAS, one of the Capability Brown Festival's national partners.
This successful project has snowballed through local and county-wide communities, stimulating the creation of neighbouring Fen Drayton School‘s Brown-inspired garden, sponsored by Bannold and CGT, an inter-generational literary festival, photographic competitions, lectures, walks and study days. A prime example of how seed funding can generate new audiences and waves of activity.
About the Author: Judith Christie, Research Coordinator, Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust.