The Duchess of Rutland has written a new book to coincide with the tercentenary of Capability Brown’s birth, in 2016.
In the early 1800s, the Duke of Rutland’s gardens at Belvoir Castle were largely considered to be one of the finest in the land.
Rumoured to be the work of the country’s greatest landscape architect, Capability Brown (1716-1783), they have been forgotten, until now.
This book was inspired by a chance discovery of Brown’s incredible plans for Belvoir Castle in its own archives, which had been lost for nearly 200 years. Upon first glance, many of Brown’s features were instantly identifiable in Belvoir’s landscape, and yet, it had taken over two decades for work to begin.
In her latest book, the Duchess of Rutland uncovers the shocking secrets that almost bankrupted her family in the late 18th century, putting a foreseeable stop to any dreams for a new garden.
In light of the financial problems, Brown’s plans for Belvoir were shelved. Only years later could the Duchess’s ancestors look to develop the estate once again.
The 5th Duke of Rutland with his ambitious wife, Elizabeth, rebuilt the Leicestershire castle in Gothic style. That they chose to continue Brown’s plans, considered too boring by many critics after his death, is testament to one of Brown’s most radical landscapes of his long career.
This is the Duchess’s story about her gardens’ development, and the fascinating people that made it happen. She shows how his enduring landscape is still as appropriate for today and – crucially – for the next generations’ agricultural, environmental, sporting and aesthetic purposes. Her candid and informative text is complemented by stunning photography and includes views of many private areas of the garden not usually open to the public.
The book’s beautiful photography, history, and extraordinary anecdotes will capture the imagination of gardeners and heritage enthusiasts alike, regardless of whether or not they are already familiar with Belvoir Castle.
This hardback volume will be enhanced with images of plans, paintings, sketches and maps, from the archives of Belvoir Castle and beyond.
The book has been written by Emma, the Duchess of Rutland, who is the chatelaine of Belvoir Castle – one of England’s great houses with a renowned art collection and accompanying sporting estate. She was supported by Jane Pruden, a freelance writer specialising in country life, field sports, heritage and food. She is a regular contributor to national magazines.
Capability Brown at Belvoir Castle, published by Nick McCann Associates, is available at £35. To buy, visit www.belvoircastle.com