In celebration of 'Capability' Brown at Wimpole

We celebrated the 300th anniversary of the birth of the great landscape designer ‘Capability’ Brown in 2016.

Scene: a new way of looking

In 2016 we commissioned contemporary artwork by NEON, an award-winning design practice that sought to explore new territories between architecture, design and art.

Inspired by Brown’s designed landscape as a series of picturesque views, or scenes, NEON invited us to follow in the footsteps of Amabel, a member of the Yorke family at Wimpole who immersed herself in the new parkland, and made it the subject of her art.

NEON’s installation of nine three metre high structures, part easel and part viewing glass, encouraged us to explore the North Park and look with an artist’s eye. 

The viewing glass or mirror alluded to a portable drawing aid called a Claude glass which was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was used by landscape artists and tourists to frame a view.

The viewer held it in their hand at eye level and turned their back on the scene they wished to view, which was reflected in the glass.

NEON’s overscale version worked in the same way: each capturing a different element of Brown’s landscape design, allowing you to discover the features that make up the whole composition.

This project was part of Trust New Art, the National Trust's programme connecting people to our places through contemporary arts, and is match-funded by Arts Council England.