Day School - Capability Brown

Ref: C2225022

The day will begin with survey of how the ‘natural’ style of gardening evolved, for instance in the work of William Kent and at Stowe. We will also examine the origins of Brown’s style. We then go on to consider in more detail the nature of Brown’s work. By exploring examples such as Petworth and Blenheim, we will seek to discover the characteristics of his style, how he set about the task of laying out a garden and how the gardens might have been understood at the time. Towards the end of the day some time will be given to Brown’s rivals and successors. What were the main criticisms of his style and what were the alternatives? How much influence did he have on the development of the English garden? We will discover that Brown was a much more controversial figure than we might expect.

Course aim

In this day school we will examine the works of Capability Brown and the context within which he worked as his works cannot be seen in isolation.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Describe in broad terms the development of the ‘natural garden’ in England and Brown’s role in it
  • Outline some of the main characteristics of Brown’s style
  • Recognise some of the alternatives to Brown’s style
  • Approach the exploration of eighteenth century English gardens in a more thoughtful and enjoyable way

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • The lectures in this day school will be as informal as possible and those attending are encouraged to join in the discussion and contribute their ideas and knowledge throughout

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • You can use your knowledge to explore the many Brown landscapes that are open to the public

Download full Course information sheet

Day School - Capability Brown


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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