Mr C from Corbridge writes inquiring whether he can include the personable gardener, Capability Brown, in his domestic comedy of life in 18th century London.
Did he like people? and if so, who were his friends? Did he know Dr Johnson? Well, when it comes to it, why not? He knew Garrick, Garrick was Johnson’s oldest friend, and Johnson commented on the tunnel that went under the road to link Garrick’s villa with his garden and Shakespeare’s Temple, beside the Thames (’David what can’t be over done, may be under done’), but Mr C, I’d rather you thought instead of Johnson walking in Dovedale with Boswell and two or three others. All seem to have been disappointed and, as though to endorse their amateur opinion, ‘Brown says he was disappointed,’ which suggests to my ear that Brown was of their acquaintance – and if he knew Johnson was he then a member of Johnson’s Literary club – could he have met Sir Joshua Reynolds, Oliver Goldsmith? Might he have shaken the hands of Adam, Smith and Edmund Burke? Why is it that we have so little record of him out and about in London?