Institute of Classical Architecture & Art + Sotheby’s: Upcoming Events

New York | July 2019
Sotheby’s is pleased to announce a series of events during Treasures from Chatsworth cohosted by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. Together we invite you to join us for this unique programming throughout the summer.

'Perfection is One Thing': Chatsworth and the Art of Capability Brown, with John Phibbs

Thursday, 11 July 6pm
1334 York Avenue, New York, NY

Many are the ways to assess the contribution made by the landscape gardener Capability Brown, who oversaw operations at Chatsworth from 1760-1765. Here is one: remove all the treasures from the house, take the roofs off the house and stables, blow up Joseph Paxton’s bravura gardens, and Chatsworth would be unbroken, still a masterpiece, still a beacon of western civilization. Take away its parkland setting, on the other hand, and it would be a museum. The paradox that underlies this assessment is that Brown’s work costs money to run, so it is a liability. If it has no tangible value can it be a work of art? If it is not that, then what is it? If it is, then how do we define a work of art? John Phibbs will explore such questions, arguing both that Brown was a transformative genius and that Chatsworth has no greater treasure than its park.

John Phibbs is the principal of Debois Landscape Survey Group. He began his professional career with the National Trust at Wimpole Hall, Cambridge, and in so doing laid the foundations for the planning and recording of all historic landscapes in England today. He has a long track record of designing and planning for the conservation of historic landscapes and is regarded as the leading authority on the work of the greatest English landscape gardener, Capability Brown. He led the celebrations of the tercentenary of Brown’s birth in 2016 and has published two books on Brown: Capability Brown, designing the English Landscape and Place-making, the art of Capability Brown. In 2018, in recognition of his services to landscape architecture he was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II. John has now been commissioned to write two companion volumes on Brown’s successor, Humphry Repton. These are to be published in 2021 and 2023.

Additional thanks to the Kathryn M. and Ronald J. Herman Jr. Charitable Foundation for their support of this lecture.

This event is free and open to the public. Advanced registration is required.


Chatsworth: The Complete Work of Art, with Clive Aslet

Wednesday, 24 July 6pm
1334 York Avenue, New York, NY

Chatsworth is the house that has everything—gardens, landscape, architecture, libraries, Rembrandts, cameos, furniture, tapestries, antiquities, Lucian Freuds, contemporary ceramics, and even gilded window frames. In this lecture, Clive Aslet will take us on a tour through this Gesamtkunstwerk, or Complete Work of Art.

Works of art must have a controlling genius to make them, and Clive will introduce the personalities who did more than anyone to shape this extraordinary treasure house and its riches collected over many generations.

Clive Aslet is a writer, commentator, historian, novelist, editor, and lecturer. He often writes about issues affecting the countryside, and the planning and provision of new homes. He served as the Editor of Country Life from 1993-2006, and has published some 20 books, including his first novel The Birdcage, published by Sandstone Press. Set in Salonika during the First World War, it evolved out of the letters, diaries, and memoirs that he read while researching his book War Memorial, published in 2012. His latest book is a collaboration with the photographer Dylan Thomas, looking at the role of the country house in the 21st Century. It will be published in Spring 2020.

Clive now serves as the Director of the Buckingham University architectural summer school—a prelude to what is hoped will be a new School of Architecture.

This event is free and open to the public. Advanced Registration is Required.


The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art wishes to thank the following sponsors for making possible the 2019 New York Summer Series:

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