Celebrating ‘Capability’ Brown & The Yorkshire Landscape

My wife and I took advantage of the hottest day of the years so far and journeyed in to town. First stop was Major Tom’s Social, where we supped, however the destination was always going to be The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate. Kathryn had spotted that there ‘was an exhibition about trees’ on at the gallery and further research yielded the familiar name ‘Capability’ Brown. It was part of a two stunning exhibitions and a series of events celebrating the tercentenary of the birth of the Landscape Artist, Lancelot Brown, and new art inspired by the Yorkshire landscape.

In the heat, we trundled in to the mercer to immediately see a day-glo redition of a deciduous tree. This was part of the exhibition FALSE PERSPECTIVES by Kate Whiteford OBE. In this exhibition, Kate Whiteford explores the reality and the artifice of the landscapes of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown with her large scale, sometime pixelated, images of trees. Also on show were the artists excellent watercolours. Kate’s watercolours were created on parchment paper – creating a viened web much like a root system – I loved it!

300 Years after the birth of Capability Brown, The Mercer is celebrating his work in Yorkshire with an exhibition of paintings, drawings and manuscripts. There was also a moving image element to the exhibit with a film by Simon Warner that depicts a group of Capability Brown’s Yorkshire landscapes as they are today. The exhibition are presented in partnership by the yorkshire Gardens Trust and the Mercer Gallery. The Yorkshire rust in 1996 with the aims of protecting and prooting the parks, gardens and designed landscapes of Yorkshire.

So, that was the blub – wheat about the review? Well, I can’t give one: art is something that happens between the ears and who am I to tell you what you will get from it. Yes, there is a whole load of official critics who can wax lyrical on the beauty of such work – but – all I can tell you is that I really enjoyed both exhibits.

I have recollections of covering Capability Brown at College – reading a book about him, I believe. So this was him coming full circle – leaping out of the dusty tomes of academia and grabbing my tipsy attention.

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