Lancelot Brown and Blenheim Palace Garden

100_7911I have sometimes heard myself remark that if ‘Capability’ Brown undertook a modern landscape architecture course he would be lucky to get a mark of 50%. But a few of his projects are excellent and none is more puzzling than Blenheim Palace Garden. I have been to photograph Blenheim many times and had another ‘shot’ at it last week. As usual, when I got home and looked at the pictures they are pretty flat and pretty disappointing. But after struggling with the Oxford area traffic and driving through the tightly picturesque village of Woodstock, and walking through what must have been the trade entrance, an amazing vision of the palace, the lake, the landform, the woods and the bridge opens before you. It is beautifully composed, full of awe and vast in scale. But you need a really wide angle lens to capture the scene, and I think this is why the photographs tend to be disappointing. I therefore offer you a photograph of the bridge only. It was taken from the lake edge with an angle of view approximately equal to the human eye (47 degrees on a 35mm camera) and I think it captures the scale of Blenheim much better than a wide angle lens would have done.

A view of Blenheim Palace from the bridge

A view of Blenheim Palace from the bridge

5 thoughts on “Lancelot Brown and Blenheim Palace Garden

  1. Adam Hodge

    Nice picture Tom ! I used to work at Blenheim for 5 years many years ago so completely understand your remarks about the enormity of the views. It is good because the proportions are all good, as I see it.
    Hope you had time to go over the Bridge and look back to the Palace from increasing distances.

  2. Christine

    Apparently Frank Lloyd Wright’s mother settled on his career while she was still pregnant!

    “In his biography his mother declared, when she was expecting her first child, that he would grow up to build beautiful buildings. She decorated his nursery with engravings of English cathedrals torn from a periodical to encourage the infant’s ambition.” []

    It would seem Capability Brown was sixteen when he began work (his landscape gardening career) at Kirkharle Hall.[][] Not sure if the decision to become a gardener and his starting his first job were taken together?

  3. Tom Turner Post author

    Thank you for the comments and, Pete, for the link. I have added a photo to remind Adam of happy days looking at the Palace from the Bridge – and am pleased to have 3 horses and no tourists in the picture!

  4. Christine

    I took one look at Achille Duchesne’s plan of Schloss Nordkirchen garden and thought AMAZING! And immediately wanted to run around the property and explore it…if only I was a child again!


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