In the same post comes a note from Mr G. of Altrincham who has sent me a photograph of the mount in the New Park at Dunham Masseyand asks whether Capability Brown ever mastered such mounts, and might have made it. Funnily enough it’s the mount as much as anything else that that persuades me that Brown had a hand in the design of the New Park.

New Park, Dunham Massey, sketched in the late 18th century

New Park, Dunham Massey, sketched in the late 18th century

Think of his ‘molehills’ at Moor Park, the ornamented mounts at Wotton, those strange ones by the lake at Hallingbury, the mounts at Thorndon (and Warwick and Cardiff come to that), the mounts at Highclere and Milton Abbey, beautifully feathered into the natural – and Compton Verney’s are equally fine. These could not be described as natural. Take the huge mount at Burghley, everyone knows it, right outside Brown’s Orangery. Of course there was a mount there before Brown arrived, but if he had wanted to get rid of it, wouldn’t he have done so? In fact he increased its size – and the oak grove on it looks very like his planting.

Mounts are not unBrownian, they are just the simplest and sometimes the most dramatic way of dealing with surplus soil.