BROWN IN HAMMERSMITH:

In 1751 ‘Capability’ Brown moved to Hammersmith Mall beside the Thames with his wife, Bridget and their young family. Here he stayed for 13 years until being appointed Royal Gardener by George III with a grace and favour house at Hampton Court Palace. Hammersmith proved to be an ideal choice, with easy access to his clients’ London homes, the large tree nurseries at Brompton, and the local pool of skilled labour whose services he could draw upon.

In the same year that Brown moved to Hammersmith he received a commission for his first major project, Croome Court in Worcestershire, for the Earl of Coventry. This was the opportunity for him to set up as a landscape gardener in his own right, after establishing his reputation as head gardener at Stowe with Lord Cobham. He later described Croome Court as his ‘first and favourite child’.

The next thirteen years saw Brown receive many of his greatest commissions:

Petworth (1751), Burghley (1754), Syon (1754), Longleat (1757), Wrest Park (1758), Alnwick (1760), Chatsworth (1760), Castle Ashby (1761), Bowood (1761), Temple Newsum (1762), Blenheim (1763), Audley End (1763).

Less well known are his 27 London gardens, nearly all of which have been either built over (such as the Peterborough Estate in Fulham), or substantially altered (Kew). Close to London, Syon Park is the best preserved of his landscapes.

Brown died in 1783 on his way home from dinner with Lord Coventry at his London home. Coventry paid the following tribute to Capability Brown for his work at Croome Court:
‘By the powers of his inimitable and creative genius (he) formed this garden scene out of a morass.’

The house in which Brown lived beside the Thames has long since been demolished.