Boathouse and menagerie

Coombe boathouse
Coombe boathouse

Brown is thought to have designed up to seven buildings at Coombe Abbey, working with Henry Holland Junior. The boathouse at Coombe lies on the south side of the lake. Built of red brick, this single-storey building is shown on a plan of 1778. The side facing the water is open ended, with an entrance door opposite.

In contrast to his Gothic-style menagerie at Blenheim, the one Brown designed for Coombe is plain and classical. The hexagonal tower with domed roof was inspired by King Louis XIV’s Royal Menagerie at the Palace of Versailles. Located on a high point at the west end of the park, the menagerie was part of a group of farm buildings and also acted as an eye-catcher in long views across the lake.

Brown also designed kennels in the Gothic style, west of the south drive to the house. These were pulled down in the late 19th century. He may also have carried out minor works to the interior of the house, including the insertion of new chimney pieces in several rooms.

Portrait of Lancelot ' Capability Brown, c 1770-75 by Richard Cosway

Portrait of Lancelot ' Capability Brown, c 1770-75 by Richard Cosway, 917421821/Private Collection/Bridgeman Images.

Download and print the Capability Brown at Coombe Abbey Park leaflet