Identifying hidden 'Capability' in West Yorkshire

Investigating lost Capability Brown landscape at Stapleton
With a focus on gardens during The Royal Horticultural Society’s National Gardening Week you may be thinking of redesigning your plot but can you take inspiration from history.

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the father of the English garden, touched landscapes all across the country and many examples are still on show today. However a group of young people have been investigating Brown’s lost landscapes in West Yorkshire.

Through the Young Roots programme, Pavilion, a Leeds-based charity, has supported a group of young people, The Follies of Youth, to explore the history of the eighteenth century landscaped garden in the local area.

Working closely with garden historians, associated with the Yorkshire Gardens Trust, New Arcadian Journal and the Landscape Institute, they have produced archive and site-based research around three privately-owned estates attributed Capability Brown.

Listed in Brown’s account book, held by the Royal Horticultural Society, the parks of Byram, Stapleton and Whitley Beaumont still exist despite the demolition of the stately homes that once stood on them. The Follies of Youth has collected historic maps, photographs and artworks in an attempt to prove the attribution to Brown and now their results are on show at The Calder at the Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield until 31 May 2015.

Collaborating with established artists, researchers and designers, The Follies of Youth has considered Brown’s landscape designs within the broader philosophical, political and industrial context of the eighteenth century resulting in film, photography, musical and performance pieces inspired by these landscapes.

By visiting the exhibition you can add information to the open archive. The exhibition is open from 12-4.30 from Tuesday – Sundays and there is the opportunity to talk to a member of the Follies of Youth network about the project. To find out more about the project visit the Follies of Youth website.

If you are feeling inspired by the heritage of landscapes and garden or are interested in Young Roots then get in touch with the Yorkshire and the Humber Development Team.

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