The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Category: Routes (Page 1 of 3)

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 with a renewed disdain for the familiar well-trodden paths of custom.

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274: Could Simon Warner be right?

One is never entirely alone in the metropolis that is Harrogate. True it is Yorkshire, but this is not the Yorkshire we are familiar with, a place of crags and craggy visages, of whinstone and wind-swept moors, here the cream of society meets at Betty’s and barely a seat to be had, even on a Wednesday.

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266: Could Brown see two fronts at once?

Captain Ken is an excellent and reliable fellow, if inclined to extreme scepticism when he comes across any suggestion of the Brown Advisor’s. He numbers archery amongst his enjoyments and it was while we were amusing ourselves at the butts that he asked me whether I was sticking to the notion that Capability Brown preferred to show off his houses in a head-on view. I said I did, for Brown was a friend to freedom and a foe to forced solutions: if head-on was the most obvious way to see a house, then head-on is what he would provide. Indeed I had already published my opinion on the matter (note 12 for example).

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251: How is it for you? (1) The scale of the endeavour

Norfolk is a county for the conservative, it is a quiet place and the Norfolk people live contentedly there, with their ancient traditions of smuggling and wrecking. With a cutlass in one hand and a twinkling light in the other, and their one good eye always a-roving, they keep a watch for the lost sailors whom they may lure to destruction on the sandy wastes of the Wash.

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219: Did Thomas Whately know Capability Brown?

I was delighted to meet Dr S, whom one seldom meets outside his native Surrey, striding amongst the glorious hedgerows of paschal Buckinghamshire. As two people will who share a common interest, we fell to a discussion of the ridings, as they were designed by that king of the English countryside, Capability Brown.

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232: Are rides of any interest?

Only yesterday I made the observation to my friend Captain Ken, as we paused at a spinney for him to seek out a good hazel stick, that I am frequently struck by the surprising way a word, an idea, a place, mentioned once, can become suddenly ubiquitous. For thus it has been for me and Wales – and on the very day following our conversation.

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154: What did it cost?

Ms D of Cambridge is a woman with a passion for gas-works, whose beauty, she feels, has for too long gone unrecognised.

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151: Did Brown shape New York?

Central Park carriages (1)

The horse-drawn carriages of Central Park are not inconspicuous

I was caught in a grimace, with a root beer at the bar on my first step to becoming American, when Mr L of Brooklyn, English as it happens, approached me, and on discovering my occupation, asked whether the great landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted had been influenced by Capability Brown.

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74: Please tell me what you know about gravel paths?

Miss L writes that she is a student with a dissertation to write and could I please tell her everything I know about gravel paths.

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80: Have we got to the bottom of the extent issue?

The Ha-ha hero, no address, but poste restante Glasgow, has responded to our earlier discussions of extent (note 58) to insist that I should at least agree with him that the second half of the 18th century was a time of sudden expansion in the number and size of parks.

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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs