ALNWICK PARKS SKETCHBOOK: EXPLORING THE 18TH CENTURY LANDSCAPE, by Peter Phillips. Published by Phillips Creative ( £14.95. Softback.

THIS is an evocative, illustrated journey through Alnwick parkscapes, exploring the legacy created by Hugh, the 1st Duke of Northumberland and Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and his contemporaries, featuring the paintings and drawings of the artist/author who has his studio gallery at Kirkharle, the famous landscape gardener’s birthplace.
It provides a pictorial journey with notes through Hulne Park and Alnwick Pastures recording the landscape, historic buildings, flora and fauna.
Working alongside the 1st Duke’s gardeners, James and Thomas Call, through the 1760s and 1770s, Brown transformed the riverside area of rough, treeless grassland bordering the castle into a gentle, pastoral scene of contoured grassy banks, green pastures, and expert tree planting.
He also brought his skills to bear in the walled Hulne Park, planting oak and beech trees to cover the hills framing the Carmelite monastery and the 12th century Alnwick monastery, and creating areas now rich in wildlife.
Prophetically, this foremost landscape designer said: “Our ideas will be exactly fit” not only for the “owner” but will also please “the painter’s eye”.
In an introduction to the book, Ralph, the 12th Duke of Northumberland, writes: “Capability Brown’s work has matured into a wonderful, living memorial to his vision. Peter Phillips’ skill with pen, pencil and paintbrush effectively captures the ancient buildings, the far horizons, the brooding northern skies and the wonderful flora and fauna within this glorious landscape.”