Glimpses of 'Capability' Brown at Ickworth

The story of 'Capability' Brown at Ickworth is intriguing and elusive. There's evidence of payments to Brown for providing landscape advice in the middle of his career and a design for the house near the end of his life. However, the detail of his input and areas in which he worked remain unclear.

Celebrating 'Capability' Brown's tercentenary with the Embroiderers' Guild

The 300th anniversary of Brown’s birthday is being celebrated with a whole range of events, exhibitions and activities through a partnership of 21 organisations. The Embroiderers' Guild, one of the festival partners, has created the Stitch and Textile trail creating 'Capability' Brown inspired designs which are on display across the country at a variety of houses and museums.  Three local East Anglian guilds; Colne and Colchester, Suffolk East and Waveney, have created the most stunning embroidered banners which adorn our reception and café visitor areas.

Waveney Embroiderers’ Guild

Visit the exhibition of Embroiderers' Guild banners celebrating Capability Brown's tercentenary
Detail from Waveney Embroiderer's Guild autumn banner

The Waveney Embroiderers’ Guild created 3 banners based on spring, summer and autumn each measuring some 4 feet wide and 8 feet long. Inspiration for these banners came from visiting the grounds and focusing on the seasonal landscape, building each banner around a central elm tree. Thousands of yards of cotton, ribbon and wire and well over 3000 hours of hard work went in to creating these banners which sit as a trio in our West Wing café. They make a stunning, extremely beautiful and fun backdrop for you to admire as you enjoy tea and cake in our café.

Suffolk East Embroiderers’ Guild

Visit the exhibition of Embroiderers' Guild banners celebrating Capability Brown's tercentenary
Detail from the Suffolk East Embroiderer's Guild house banner

Suffolk East started the project on the banners with some trepidation. The 3 banners which are now hanging in our West Wing reception needed to be 4 feet wide and 12 feet long. No small undertaking indeed. The Guild were inspired to create 3 templates of beautifully dyed and hand printed backgrounds with embroidered ‘slips’ focussed on different aspects of 'Capability' Brown and Ickworth. The 3 banners are called ‘This Landscape has Capabilities’ – looking at the landscapes of Brown, ‘Fans, Fishes and Furnishings’ – inspired by items from our collection in the house and ‘Topiary and Temples’ – inspired by architecture and garden design around the house. Over 1000 hours of work from the guild members have very elegantly transformed our reception area.

Colne and Colchester Embroiderers’ Guild

Visit the exhibition of Embroiderers' Guild banners celebrating Capability Brown's tercentenary
Detail from the Colne and Colchester Embroiderer's Guild Lady Georgiana banner

Colne and Colchester have created 2 very individual banners. ‘Georgiana’s flower garden’ which hangs at the entrance to our Orangery was inspired by an original 18th century engraving by Mary and Matthew Darly who were English print sellers and caricaturists. The banner satirizes the oversized wigs worn by some fashionable women of the time. There are over 760 hours of stitching on this banner and spanning a wide age range, the eldest embroiderer was 92 and the youngest just 11.

The second Colne and Colchester banner is based on rug canvas and uses recycled fabric and represents an impressive 1200 hours of work. Hanging in our café, the banner is an impression of green landscape taken from our guide book and offers a different perspective of the Italianate Garden.

'Capability' Brown's birthday month

From 22 - 31 August we’re hosting a number of 'Capability' Brown inspired activities. See our events listings for more details and visit us to get inspired.