The man who designed England’s green and pleasant land | University of Oxford
Blenheim
Blenheim Palace, one of Brown's best-known designs

Credit: Blenheim Palace

The man who designed England’s green and pleasant land

Matt Pickles

Britain's country houses boast some of the best-known gardens in the world.

It is less well-known that many of these were designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, who was born 300 years ago this year.

Dr Oliver Cox, the University's first and recently-appointed Heritage Engagement Fellow, has co-curated an exhibition on 'Capability' Brown at the Bodleian Libraries' Weston Library, which is open until September 4.

In this video, he explains how Oxford is celebrating the anniversary, and what we should know about ‘Capability’ Brown, and how he got his nickname.

'Something I’ve found in my research is that Brown is really an entrepreneurial icon – he’s the James Dyson or Richard Branson of his day – because he creates a fantastic product that pretty much all of the aristocracy want to buy into, and where Brown is so successful is that he creates a brand around himself,' he says.

'He’s the man that will come and say, "your landscape, Sir, or Lord, or Lady, has great capabilities, and I can do something really spectacular with it".'