Grantham Journal Big Interview: Lasting tribute needed for Capability Brown

Laury Dizengremel. Photo courtesy of Joe Caneen.

Laury Dizengremel. Photo courtesy of Joe Caneen.

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Shocked to discover there is no statue of landscape artist Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, who created many of Britain’s most celebrated gardens, Belvoir Castle’s artist-in-residence Laury Dizengremel has set about righting that wrong.

She told us more about the project.

What’s your artistic background?

I have been creating traditional, figurative sculptures​ ​for over 35 years. With public statues in China, Vietnam, Canada, the USA, France and Ireland under my belt, I called Belvoir Castle in 2010 offering free consultancy for a sculpture park. The Duchess of Rutland said she’d love to have bronze busts of all five of her children, and I became artist-in-residence at Belvoir working on those and several other projects, including a sculpture trail by the Grantham Canal. Last year I also ended up creating several sculptures for the castle’s gardens.

When did you learn about Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s work? ​

A couple of years ago, plans drafted by Brown for Belvoir Castle in the 18th century, were rediscovered in the castle’s archives. With the help of Alan Titchmarsh, the Duchess​ ​set about implementing some of the plans which had never been realised. I was then asked to create an obelisk sculpture which Brown had indicated should feature in the Belvoir landscape. All of this was featured in the three-part TV series ‘Alan Titchmarsh on Capability Brown’, which aired this autumn on More 4. At the obelisk’s unveiling, I found out from eminent historian John Phibbs that there is no statue of Brown. I was dismayed as his French counterpart, Andre Le Notre, has sculptures all over France.

What made Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s work so important?

He is quite simply responsible for the magic landscapes the entire world has come to regard as quintessentially English. ​This 18th century ‘man of the people’ deserves a lasting tribute as his gardens will continue to enchant every generation that follows us.

How can people help with the project?

Until December 8, you can donate via www.crowdfunder.co.uk/capability-brown-sculpture. You can also follow us on Twitter @Statue_of_Brown and at www.facebook.com/laurycapability.

For further details, including how you can donate by cheque, email ask@laurydizengremel.com