Mr M is curious to know how a landscape gardener like Capability Brown will have got along with architects, supposing they were employed at the same time, and has written from London to ask which of the two would rule the roost.
So often, Mr M, things do not turn out as in a perfectly ordered world they should. Undoubtedly the gardener should determine the position and aspect of the house, taking into account the provision of water and drainage and any building materials in the vicinity. We may be certain that things were seldom settled so satisfactorily. Although Robert Adam was remarkably respectful in his reading of Brownian landscape – more so than his rivals – his Kedleston was still built in the wrong place. Sir William Chambers worked with Brown on many occasions but became, as we know, violently hostile to him – and I have to say that fine though his design for Higher Lodge is, it is hard to say what contribution it makes to the mediaeval setting of Milton Abbey. From Harleyford to Heveningham, Sir Robert Taylor beats both Adam and Chambers for sheer indifference to landscape – but might I leave you with a list of projects, attributed to Brown by some, where one of four major architects worked – all may be said to have worked with Brown to a similar degree – John Carr has fewer examples because he largely confined his practice to northern England, Sir Robert Taylor has fewer, but he kept no record of his commissions, which are therefore bound to have been under-represented by Sir Howard Colvin, from whose book all these attributions are taken. I would venture that by comparing their start dates with those known for Brown’s involvement, Mr M, you might find a rough and ready guide as to which came first, architect or gardener.
|Site||Brown’s start_date||Brown’s finish date||Robert_Adam||John_Carr||William_Chambers||Robert_Taylor|
|Cannon Hall||1778||1778||from 1764|