The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Category: Components of landscape (Page 1 of 17)

301: Was Brown a land artist?

Mrs M writes from New York to ask whether the great gardener (but perhaps in this context he might be better described as an earth-mover) Capability Brown might be compared to the American land artists on the fourth quarter of the 20th century.

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295: Where did he get his trees?

Mrs W of Newcastle-upon-Tyne has asked where the indigenous and ingenious Capability Brown, idol of Indians and Chiefs alike, got his trees and it’s a good question, especially when it comes from that splendid city Newcastle, strong indeed in the matter of coal-mines and ships, but less so when it comes to the commercial tree nurseries of the 18th century.

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297: Who’d live in a village?

Many questions have been raised about the standing of the 18th century village. Was it Oliver Goldsmith’s Auburn and a heaven on earth, or was it squalid, unsanitary and absolutely to be avoided?

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296: Who did the driving?

Captain Ken, being a bicycling man, is forever in pursuit of some new place in which to try his skills, be it the screes of a mountain slope or the dense undergrowth of a distant forest and he now returns from the United States for a renewed disdain for the familiar well-trodden paths of custom.

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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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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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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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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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280: What news of the Norfolk school?

Before recommending to our public Tom Williamson and David Brown’s Lancelot Brown and the Capability Men (London: Reacktion Books, 2016), the new basket of bouquets to that ‘Tractor of True Taste, Capability Brown, my friends and I decided we would each select some bonbon from the book that would justify such a purchase.

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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs