The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

300 Frequently Asked Questions about Capability Brown, and a further 200 about Humphry Repton

Author: The Brown Advisor (Page 2 of 31)

292: Who’s in the picture?

292-garrick-villa

Who is the standing man in the brown top coat?

A row hangs over us and it has to do with Zoffany’s portrait of David Garrick, to which note 282 of the Brown Advisor refers.

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290: What went wrong?

Many have been the triumphs of Capability Brown’s tercentenary

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291: Is pedantry a virtue?

The more than distinguished Professor H of Pennsylvania has communicated and in his communication he makes it clear in his by-the-way fashion that when Sir William Chambers described the designs of the master-illusionist, Capability Brown, as little more than a walk around a common field, he meant ‘common field’ in the sense ‘common or garden’, that is, ordinary, everyday.

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282: With whom did Brown take coffee?

In my last I (note 281) gave my verdict on the varnished version of verisimilitude that is held to characterise the work of the gardener Capability Brown. Now Mr C of Nailsworth and Ms B of Swindon clearly assume that I have powers to communicate with the dead and so have joined to ask me what question I would put to the man if I had the power to do so.

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289: What is the difference between a house and a hall?

Ms K has been in touch from Leeds over a matter of propriety. She wonders if Dukes always live in palaces, and if there is a pecking order in the names of houses as there is in the orders of the nobility.

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288: Is Brown known in Europe?

A recent note (no. 286) has been further reflected in encounters with thinkers from France (Dr C), from Germany (Dr K) and from Hungary (Dr A), who speak interestingly, but in concert and with an authority that cannot be denied, and who deny that their 18th century ancestors had any great knowledge of the gardener Capability Brown, even when they were laying out in their own countries lavish landscapes in his style.

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287: What is a deer house?

I am proud to number amongst my acquaintance, Dr J  – I would add ‘of Sheffield’ but that he is so often to be found in Lichfield – or any other field come to that.

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286: Is Brown a classic?

Much as moulds will effloresce upon a ground bedewed and pooled with rain, so a year made florid by the celebration of the tercentenary of that master of illusion, Capability Brown, will bring us thistles as well as roses.

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283: Where does this leave Repton?

While normally I trust I may pride myself upon a sanguine and forgiving temperament, I must confess that a recent correspondence from Mr H of Twickenham, has left me with an unexpected difficulty that I cannot satisfactorily resolve.

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284: Are there no crumbs?

Hirsute and with her head in a bandage again, Mrs W of Staffordshire never looks her best after a fall, but her one wild eye is still a-roving, and thus she came to me seeking as it were a mix of bread-crumbs which she felt would liven up this dish of advisory notes and give them more kick as they came fresh from the oven.

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Page 2 of 31

The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs