The valley at Bowood runs behind the house to the lake

The valley at Bowood runs behind the house to the lake

In my last I introduced the ‘valley direct’ in the face of stern opposition. The ‘valley transverse’ is a more fugitive idea and the opposition, I fear, will be still more fierce. Yet in my rambles with the Captain I have on several occasions noticed valleys in the landscapes of that happy hunter, Capability Brown, that neither run direct to the house, nor are set at right angles to it, in the way that I described in my last post. One thinks of the beautiful valley that runs up to Brown’s Hill on the west side of the pleasure ground at Southill, of the equally waved and rolled Eleanor Combe at Milton Abbey, of the little valley that cuts through the pleasure ground to the cascade at Bowood, and the valley at Luton Hoo, now incorporated into Romaine Walker’s formal garden.

The valley transverse at Luton sets the house at the top of a slope.

The transverse valley at Luton sets the house at the top of a slope.

These declivities have in each case been landscaped and polished, and at each there will have been views across them to the house, appearing to set it off on a hill and so to lend an added grandeur. Now whether those four cases are enough to make a recurrent motif in the work of the great Capability Brown, that question remains open. For no very good reason I question such motifs as indicators of Brownian design until I have recorded more than five examples.