News and press releases

  • Royal Mail
    16 August 2016
    Royal Mail marks 300th anniversary of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s birth with a set of special stamps
  • A new set of eight stamps will be issued on 16 August 2016, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown
  • The stamps showcase some of the best loved surviving examples of Capability Brown’s work, and celebrate his contribution to landscape gardening
  • Featured locations include: Blenheim Palace, Longleat, Compton Verney, Highclere Castle, Alnwick Castle, Berrington Hall, Stowe and Croome Park
  • Capability Brown is remembered as ‘the last of the great eighteenth century artists’ and ‘England’s greatest gardener’
  • He changed the face of eighteenth century England, designing country estates and mansions, moving hills and creating flowing lakes and serpentine rivers
  • Royal Mail will provide a special handstamp on all mail posted in the village of Kirkharle, his birthplace, from 16 – 22 August 2016
  • The stamps are available from www.royalmail.com/landscapegardens and 8,000 Post Office branches

Royal Mail today announces the launch of a set of eight Special Stamps to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.

Capability Brown is remembered as ‘the last of the great eighteenth century artists’ and as ‘England’s greatest gardener’. 
Nicknamed ‘Capability’ from his habit of describing locations as having ‘great capabilities’, he changed the face of eighteenth century England through his innovative approach to landscape gardening.

He designed the landscapes of country estates, by moving hills and creating flowing lakes and serpentine rivers. He also excavated valleys, planted expanses of turf, clumps of trees and bands of forest.

The stamps showcase eight of the best loved examples of Capability Brown’s work and a celebration of his contribution to the English landscape.

Locations featured on the stamps are: Blenheim Palace, Longleat, Compton Verney, Highclere Castle, Alnwick Castle, Berrington Hall, Stowe and Croome Park.
Celebrated for creating landscapes on an immense scale, with a focus on vistas rather than gardens and parkland – it is often said that the images Brown created are as deeply embedded in the English character as the paintings of Turner and the poetry of Wordsworth.

Stamp-by-Stamp

Blenheim Palace:
Often viewed as an example of one of Brown’s finest projects, The Duke of Marlborough enticed Brown to Oxfordshire in 1763, with the promise that he should begin work at Blenheim Palace immediately.

Longleat:
Set in 900 acres of parkland modelled by Brown. For his efforts at Longleat in Wiltshire, Brown was paid over £6,100 between 1757 and 1762 by Lord Weymouth.

Compton Verney:
Brown’s 1768 arrival at Compton Verney, Warwickshire, sparked Lord Willoughby de Broke to undertake ambitious changes to the family seat - including both the house and landscape.

Highclere Castle:
Henry Herbert, later 1st Earl of Carnarvon, summoned Brown to Highclere Castle shortly after he inherited the Berkshire estate in 1769. The castle was used as the location for the TV series, Downton Abbey.

Alnwick Castle:
Shortly before 1770, Brown began work at the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland’s northern estate, Alnwick Castle, after having previously worked for them at Syon. Northumberland was the county of Brown’s birth.

Berrington Hall:
In 1778, Brown supplied a landscape plan for Thomas Harley at Berrington Hall, Herefordshire, working there in perfect partnership with his son-in-law, the architect, Henry Holland Jnr.

Stowe:
Stowe, the vast Buckinghamshire estate belonging to the formidable Viscount Cobham, was where Brown cut his horticultural teeth. He modelled the Grecian Valley with the Temple of Concord and Victory.

Croome Park:
Brown was first consulted regarding Croome Park in Worcestershire in 1751, when George William Coventry inherited the earldom. This was his first independent commission.

Royal Mail will provide a special handstamp on all mail posted in the village of Kirkharle, Brown’s birthplace, from 16 – 22 August 2016. The box is sited at the junction of the B6342 and Kirkharle Cottages.The handstamp will run from 16-22 August 2016, and will feature a line drawing of Brown based on the portrait of him painted by Richard Cosway, c.1770-75.

Throughout 2016 the nationwide Capability Brown Festival celebrates the life, work and legacy of Brown, in the 300th year of his birth. The Capability Brown Festival has, and continues to see, a myriad of events including exhibitions, guided walks, musical and theatrical performances and family friendly events held at many of his 250 landscapes across England and Wales, with more planned for the coming Autumn months.

Ceryl Evans, Director of the Capability Brown Festival, said: “It is wonderful that Royal Mail has issued a set of Special Stamps to celebrate the work of Lancelot "Capability" Brown in his tercentenary year. The Capability Brown Festival is working to raise the profile and understanding of historic landscapes. What better way to bring these stunning images into people’s lives in homes and offices than on a stamp?”

Philip Parker, Royal Mail, said: “During his lifetime, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown literally changed the face of Georgian England. By the time of his death, he was known to have shaped or influenced around 250 landscapes - these stamps pay tribute to the lasting legacy of his work.”

The stamps are available from 16 August 2016 at www.royalmail.com/landscapegardens and 8,000 Post Offices.

For more information please contact:
Royal Mail Stamps
Natasha Ayivor
Royal Mail Press Office
100 Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0HQ
Tel: 020 7449 8250
Mobile: 07436 280002
natasha.ayivor@royalmail.com

Notes to Editors:
About Royal Mail Special Stamps
For 50 years Royal Mail’s Special Stamp programme has commemorated and celebrated events and anniversaries pertinent to UK heritage and life. Today, there are an estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors and gift givers in the UK and millions worldwide. Her Majesty the Queen approves all UK stamp designs before they are printed.

About the Capability Brown Festival 2016
The Capability Brown Festival unites 21 partner organisations in the UK’s largest festival of its kind to date.  It marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in August 1716.
• The Festival is managed by the Landscape Institute and is funded with a £911,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional match funding and funding in kind from the Festival’s partners and supporters.
• Many Brown sites, including those not normally open to the public, will host special events, tours and activities throughout 2016.
• More information can be found at http://www.capabilitybrown.org/ or @BrownCapability