Lenses on a Landscape Genius  

The exhibition ends by touching on Brown’s life and felicitous personality. Of humble background, like his contemporary and friend the actor Garrick, he achieved both status and wealth. His energy and ability to run a large practice effectively enabled him to carry out as many as 260 commissions (attributed 2015), some small but many continuing over decades for aristocratic and powerful clients, many of whom became his friends.

“Mr Brown has undoubtedly the best taste of anybody for improving nature by what I have seen of his Works. He paints as he plants.” Hoare.

In a letter dated 1763 to Lord Bruce, his son-in-law, Hoare’s choice of words was inspired by Alexander Pope’s poem on the subject of Stowe gardens: ‘Consult the Genius of the Place in all; (Nature) … Paints as you plant, and as you work, designs.’ (Epistle IV, To Richard Boyle, Lord Burlington; 1731)