21 June, 2016

A brush with Brown: the landscapes of Capability Brown by Tim Scott Bolton; foreword by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales

This book combines two subjects of interest to me; painting and gardening.
Tim Scott Bolton has spent two years completing the 90 or so paintings that grace the pages of his first book and for 40 years he has travelled round Britain painting many of its well known homes in oils and watercolours.

Lancelot (‘Capability’) Brown was born in 1716. Influenced by William Kent, one of the founders of the new English style of landscape gardening, it is estimated he was responsible for over 170 gardens in Britain surrounding the finest country houses. His naturalistic landscapes done on a grand scale replaced the older style of formal gardens.
Interesting to see how well he was paid – 6,000 pounds a year in the 1760’s which is the equivalent of 740,000 pounds in todays money. Eventually he bought his own large estate.
A number of books have been released to celebrate the 300th anniversary of his birth. ‘Capability Brown & his landscape gardens’ by Sarah Rutherford is also in our library.

The author/artist was able to access about a third of the estates that were landscaped by Brown. The paintings are beautiful and it’s interesting to realise that the mature trees we see now were only there in Brown’s imagination at the time of planting.
Bolton says “ Lancelot Brown was lucky to have been born in an aesthetic age, the eighteenth century, the Age of Enlightenment. Today we live in utilitarian times and I fear all I see is ugliness in much that is new.”

Title: A brush with Brown: the landscapes of Capability BrownAuthor: Tim Scott Bolton 
Reviewed by: Claire S.
Claire S works in Information Services, Central Library and enjoys reading, biographies ,art, New Zealand and other interesting bits and pieces.

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