The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Category: Buildings (Page 1 of 3)

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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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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279: What’s worse – Catholic or Tory?

A chance conversation – I was dining at Stowe – led me to review the correspondence of Mrs W of Nether Lamport (see for example my note 8). For I surmise that after all there is an underlying significance to the names of things.

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267: What’s the difference between a folly, a fabrique, and an eye-catcher?

Clatter! Bang! Wallop! You’ll forgive me. I have been resting. It began soon after I had a chute fitted to my front door – last Wednesday in fact.

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253: How is it for you? (3) Land management

Forgive me if in this note I resume my happy task of setting out the progress of enlightened thought in pursuit of that snappy salesman, the gardener, Capability Brown, through a consideration of Dr Sarah Rutherford’s new book Capability Brown and his landscape gardens.

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252: How is it for you? (2) Skills

Before writing this, the second of four notes on our understanding of Capability Brown, I took my proposal to the Tatler’s Waste-bin for the consideration of my fellows, and the attempt was approved. Here then is our matured consideration of the up-bringing, skills and attainments attainments – in short the reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic of Capability Brown.

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216: Why the Tuscan order?

This issue of the Ionic order (notes 162 and 222) clings to me like goose-grass on the jerseys of children. In all probability it is as foolish, but Mrs S of London has inquired about the Tuscan columns used in William Pitt’s farms at Burton Pynsent. The gardener and home-builder, Capability Brown, who does not seem to have used the Ionic order in his buildings, may have known these, and certainly knew the Tuscan temples (with their Tuscan columns) at Wotton. I would go so far as to say that he was comfortable with Tuscans, however at the point of reaching this conclusion, my lucubrations were brought prematurely to a close with a whoop from Captain Ken, who had just made a triple twenty on the dart-board at my elbow.

Buoyed by his triumph, he suggested, when I unfolded to him what had been on my mind, that just as architects of the Italian Renaissance had adopted the Tuscan as a native Etruscan form and hence their own, so might the 18th century have brought it to England for its primitive honesty – a thing that Brown is like to have fostered within himself. Perhaps, Mrs S, we should leave the Captain, in the moment of his triumph, with that likely answer.

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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs