Funded by Arts Council England and supported by the Landscape Institute & CB300 celebrations, Brown at Work was an extremely successful project and contributed to Croome massive rise in visitors from 198,000 in 2015 to 273,000 in 2016.
Although it looks completely natural, the picturesque landscape at Croome which is situated near Pershore in south Worcestershire, was created by the visionary Capability Brown with the fortune of the 6th Earl of Coventry and the toil of thousands of labourers who worked without the tools we take for granted today.
Brown had the ability to envisage and produce an entire new landscape and the vision to anticipate how it would look in the future. The fact that he could do this without the modern aids of 3D modelling and digital advantages still captivates and fascinates landscaping professionals and visitors today.
The Brown at Work installation – a miniature landscape in the grounds of Croome that could be sculpted and re-sculpted by Croome visitors from 23 July - 3 September 2016 - was part of the Croome team objective to celebrate Brown's 300th birthday and to increase the amount of visitors who understand and appreciate that they are walking in a 'created landscape' that was formed from a marsh by Brown over 260 years ago.
Brown at Work gave the opportunity for visitors to experience how it feels to shift and shape the land, albeit on a much smaller scale, on the same site as Brown worked. Tons of sand were placed within an enclosure with simple tools and 2D models of famous Brownian features to enable visitors to create their own landscapes. The installation was a particular hit among Croome's family audience and delivered the initial objectives set out as well as providing a memorable and creative experience for visitors.
The project was co-produced by a team of National Trust staff (Katherine Alker and Kiki Claxton), Croome volunteers (Sue Coleman, Ted Rice, Betty Mills, David Pratley and Liz Turrell) who collaborated with a socially engagedartist, Kathrin Böhm. The installation was so successful, the original finish date of the 21 August was moved to the 3 September.