Stamp of approval for new postage

The Duke of Northumberland with the commemorative stamp featuring Alnwick Castle.
The Duke of Northumberland with the commemorative stamp featuring Alnwick Castle.

The Duke of Northumberland has helped to launch a new set of stamps to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.

The stamps showcase some of the best loved surviving examples of Brown’s work, and celebrate his contribution to landscape gardening.

Alnwick Castle, the most northerly example of the landscape gardener’s work, features on the £1.05 stamp.

Capability Brown is remembered as the last of the great 18th century artists and as England’s greatest gardener.

Born at Kirkharle, he changed the face of 18th century England, designing country estates and mansions, moving hills and creating flowing lakes and serpentine rivers.

Shortly before 1770, Brown began work at the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland’s northern estate, Alnwick Castle, after having previously worked for them at Syon.

The Duke said: “My ancestors, the first Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, employed local lad Capability Brown to landscape the castle grounds at Alnwick in the 1770s.

“By then at the height of his fame, he created the spectacular view which we continue to enjoy from the castle and which has changed little over the years.

“Alnwick is the most northerly example of the work of a man who apparently took much of his inspiration from his homeland of Northumberland. I was therefore delighted to be asked to play a small part in paying tribute to his work, something made all the more poignant given that I am lucky enough to look out daily over what is undoubtedly one of his finest creations.”

Royal Mail will provide a special handstamp on all mail posted in Kirkharle, until August 22. It will feature a line drawing of Brown based on the portrait of him painted by Richard Cosway, c.1770-75.

Philip Parker, from Royal Mail, said: “During his lifetime, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown literally changed the face of Georgian England. By the time of his death, he was known to have shaped or influenced around 250 landscapes. These stamps pay tribute to the lasting legacy of his work.”

The other locations featured on the stamps are Blenheim Palace, Longleat, Compton Verney, Highclere Castle, Berrington Hall, Stowe and Croome Park