Brown, Lancelot 1715-1783
Lancelot Brown was born in a family of moderate circumstances in North England. After a education at Cambo School, he became a gardener to Sir William Loraine who owned a well-landscaped estate. He became proficient in the art of gardening and then moved to Walton near London. Shortly he became head gardener at Stowe, one of the most famous gardens in his time. He also worked on other gardens including Warwicke Castle. He moved to London in 1751 and shortly became known as "capability" Brown because as a landscape gardener he saw capabilities for improvement in every garden.
Hadfield states, "Brown was essentially a practical man with an eye for a certain type of landscape." After riding around an estate for a few hours, he would have visualized not how his standardized landscape could be imposed upon the existing scene but how it could be done at the least expense.
Brown is criticized for the destruction that he wrought before he created: for the avenues felled and the handiwork of his predecessors which he obliterated.
He was definitely connected with more than 150 estates and he at least was a consultant with the owner of many others. Undoubtedly many beautiful formal gardens were done away with in order to conform with what he called their "capabilities."