The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

300 Frequently Asked Questions about Capability Brown, and a further 200 about Humphry Repton

60: Why do we have no statues of Brown

An appealing statue, somewhat annoyed to be discovered relieving himself in the bushes

An appealing statue, somewhat annoyed to be discovered relieving himself in the bushes

Mrs L of Harrogate has asked me to remind her about the portrait of Capability Brown said to have been painted by Gainsborough.

Brown was hardly the handsome hero, yet why should there not have been such a portrait? He was painted by Richard Cosway and Nathaniel Dance, and drawn as well, and he did pay Thomas Gainsborough £32.00.00 in 1782.

Bob E from Erith has raised a similar question about busts of Brown. Given the emblematic nature of a statue and Brown’s increasing reluctance to incorporate emblematic design into his work, the lack of any statuary or bust is less surprising. I hear that several sculptors want to give it a go, Jon Edgar in the south, and Laury Dizengremel (http://www.laurydizengremel.com/Lancelot_Capability_Brown_sculpture.html) in the midlands among them. 

I think something could be done. The Hammersmith Society is keen, and a somewhat larger than lifesize terracotta on the Mall there might work, or how about an enormous bronze erupting from the soil at Kirkharle or lying at ease across the new cascade there, with Brown spouting rivers from his mouth.

For myself, a modest bas-relief of Brown with Petworth behind him would be quite adequate. There’s plenty of room for one of those in Westminster Abbey.

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1 Comment

  1. Chris

    Every project/campaign must have a strap line/slogan, it seems. How about ‘Brown or Bust’?

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By John Phibbs