300 frequently asked questions about Brown, your queries answered, copyright The Brown Advisor.
I have in hand a response to my note 98, naturally concerning the landscapes of that non-pareil Capability Brown. The excellent Professor M of the Home Counties, close-shaven himself, takes the view that these were altogether smooth and had no wildness in them.
He will find support for this view in Dr Johnson who expostulated to Boswell, in 1776: ‘You and I, Sir, have, I think, seen together the extremes of what can be seen in Britain: – the wild rough island of Mull, and Blenheim park.’ Brown’s work was associated so much with smoothness simply because he was assumed to have played no part in the rougher parts of his landscapes: did he really then offer no advice on Brobury Scar and the wild deer park at Moccas Court? – one might say he did not because the only plan of his that survives ends at the lower slopes of the park to the south, and on the banks of the Wye to the north. The landscape at Langley, Bucks has two parts, Langley Park itself to the south, and the rough ground of Black Park to the north – can he really have played no part in the latter? Likewise North Stoneham has the polished ground around the site of the house, and Rough Park, now the golf course, on the higher ground above it. One could go on, but we have Arthur Young’s observation that rough ground was a necessary component of the landscape: ‘Among other very extensive estates, are those which have been formed by buying up all the wastes around … not with a view to cultivate them, but for the increase of their domaine – for elbow room – for hunting ground, (imitating therein the Mohawks and Cherokees) – for shooting moor-game…’ With this rich effluvia of Young’s imagination I will leave this subject.