North Kent Embroiderers Guild

The Capability Brown Festival

Landscapes and Gardens of Leeds Castle

Click on pictures to see a larger picture    

2016 marked the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot "Capability" Brown, a designer who changed the national landscape and created a style which has shaped people's picture of the quintessential English countryside.

As the first ever celebration of Brown's work, the Capability Brown Festival brings together a huge range of events. The Embroiderers' Guild was delighted to be a Festival Partner and is contributing to the celebrations with a series of unique textile exhibitions at venues across the country throughout 2016.

Here at North Kent Embroiderers’ Guild, members were busy interpreting the gardens of Leeds Castle into pieces of embroidery. The title was Leeds Caslte, and all those that particpated, did something different.



'The Maze'

This is a picture of the Maze done in Blackwork by Veronica, using evenweave fabric and black cotton. Mulberry paper was stitched onto the calico which had been stretched over an art board before mounting the work onto the mulberry paper using stab stitch and buttons added to give a little extra interest. Veronica loves Blackwork as it was one of the first forms of embroidery she ever learnt.



'Lichen on a dry stone wall'

Heather's picture shows round, yellowish-green growth that lies flat to the rocks in a wall.  The rocks are made of silk covered with sheer fabrics and embellished by sequins, gimp and threads. The idea stemmed from a picture of a peacock seen strutting its stuff on a dry stone wall at Leeds last year. I love dry stone walls and lichen, hence the piece.


'A Quiet Corner'

'This picture is of trees and a pond and made me think out of my 'comfort zone'', says Jackie within the splendours of Capabilty Brown's Landscaped gardens, there are always peaceful corners, where one can rest a while, and reflect on the beauty of it all.... at one with Nature, as he intended........


'Over the Wall'

"Over the wall" was inspired by a doorway near the Culpeper Garden at Leeds Castle. Karen printed one of her photos of the castle onto poplin and built up a collage of colours and textures round it using scraps of lace, net and fabric together with a variety of simple embroidery stitches and some free machine embroidery. Capability Brown loved to have unexpected views in his landscapes.


'Through the Trees'

Sue's picture is needle run net, on hand dyed cotton net. Stitched background with separate trees and bushes net stitched and applied. The bridge and organdie border stitched on when the the centre was complete.


'Summer into Autumn'

Evelyn used a variety of stitches to portray an autumn landscape. 
These include chain stitch, french knots and couching. Textured
threads were included to give a sense of depth.


'Evergreen in Snow'

Eileen says that Capability Brown’s use of trees in his designs is legendary.  This is just a small representation of those he used. It is worked on 14 count canvas from a chart using three and two strands of embroidery thread..


'The Peacock'

Katheleen thought the Peacock made beautiful picture. It is done in Shadow Embroidery using felt, Tyvek, sequin beads, backstitch stem stitch and buttonhole stitch over gimp.

'It was a challenge to work it, but also a learning curve!'


'The Barbican'

Gill says that her emboidery is of the 'Barbican'. It is a lovey overgrown structure, full of nooks and crannies, which has an air of mystery about it.



Muriel says that to her Capability Brown is 'Landscapes'. 'Hill if you want a lake' so this was her chosen aspect to depict his outlook.


'Anemone Wood'

Toni based her picture on the Woodland Walk, she used mixed media to make her entry. The background was made using wet and dry felting and embroidery threads for the main tree and some of the flowers. All of the leaves, Anemones and Daffodils were made using pure silk ribbon. Toni prefers to use white silk ribbon and colour it herself, this gave her the freedom to try and get a more natural feel, especially on the woodland floor. She is very pleased with the finished result and felt very privileged to be able to take part.


'Snapshots of Leeds Castle'

As our guild has had several textile artists to speak to us, Val decided to do something out of my comfort zone and try some new techniques. She wet felted the trees and then embellished them, printed the photograph of Leeds Castle, stitched over and used wording printed from the website as a base for the title. Then stitched with various stitches the flowers and Black Swan weather vane.


'Through the Window'

Lis says that this is a view of the lake from the dining room. It is done in tent stitch - petit point - using 28 count fabric!