Dr G writes again from York to ask whether the list of sites attributed to Capability Brown is available on line.
These things usually are, somewhere or other, and our editor John Phibbs will shortly have the latest version of his list on his web-site. However Dr G is a robust and critical academic and we must ask, what is a list in this case, and what is an oeuvre. The list that he refers to is the so-called list of attributions; that is, a list of the places where we have some evidence that Brown gave advice. The step from that to a definitive assessment of his oeuvre is an unexpectedly large one, because it requires us to know what he actually did at each place where he worked. Our doubts are damnable, but I cannot discern the day when such a document could ever be definitive. After all we do not have a final account of the works of Shakespeare or the paintings of Titian, how on earth should we expect to find one in an artform in which so many more people are involved and nature itself has a part to play. Your time will be better spent Dr G, at Betty’s with a pot of tea and a crumpet.