John Phibbs has been advising on historic landscapes since 1978. He has worked on a broad range of parks and gardens (over 600 sites), the greatest concentration being in the south of England, where the storms of 1987 and 1991 had their biggest impact. His work has covered a wide range of dates and styles, but he is an acknowledged authority on Georgian landscapes, especially those by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and Humphry Repton.
Despite his academic credentials, John remains very practical in his approach. He has done his time on the National Trust’s Gardens Panel (which guides overall policy on gardens in the Trust’s ownership) and he serves on the Design Review Panel of the Georgian Group, which has a statutory role concerned with the conservation of Georgian buildings and landscapes.
At present however, much of John’s time is taken up with preparations for Brown’s tercentenary in 2016. He devised and is spear-heading this celebration of Brown’s birth in 1716, for which he has completed one book Capability Brown, defining the English landscape, for Rizzoli Press, and a second Place-making, the art of Capability Brown, for Historic England. Both are to be published in 2016. His proposal for a series of three TV programmes on Brown’s work was broadcast on More4 from Thursday 17th September 2015.
The simple aim of the tercentenary is to raise the profile of landscape as an art, and of Brown as its leading practitioner, and once Brown has been recognized as having contributed more than most Englishmen, to ensure that he gets a commemorative plaque in Westminster Abbey.