Dr G has been written from York to ask where good plans by the great Capability Brown are to be found, and where they will be on view during the tercentenary year.
He will no doubt have to hand the admirable David Adshead’s Wimpole, an addition to the catalogue which not only prints the Brown plan but helpfully offers it digitally on the accompanying CD. However one plan, worth even a trip from York during the tercentenary, will be on show at the Horsham Museum, where the curator, Mr Jeremy Knight, is organising an exhibition for Brown’s plan of Hills Park, without a penny, I understand, of external funding. He is greatly to be commended, and I am grateful to Dr F and Bob, both of Sussex for putting me onto the man.
The Hills plan was commissioned by Viscount Irwin and is to be valued not just for the freehand intimacy of the cartography, but also because the landscape itself has effectively gone. I find that when people look at a plan they first turn it round, or turn themselves round, several times, to try to fix it by means of local landmarks and to work out which way up they are, then they look to see how much of what is shown on the plan survives. Once these questions are answered, the plan itself, however much it may tell us of the design, rates no further attention. At Hills there are no such obstacles. Furthermore, this is a rare opportunity to compare Hills with Viscount Irwin’s other estate, Temple Newsam.
I am surprised that Horsham has not already been raided by Dr G and his cohorts, every one of them descended from Vikings. Mr Knight may need to reinforce his doors.