The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Category: Boundaries

1864: Brown and Repton – were Brown’s bigger?

‘I am asked again whether Humphry Repton worked on a smaller scale than Capability Brown, and whether he should be regarded on that account as less worthy of our regard.

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1829: Boundaries?

‘”The park wall must be continued around the farm for the safety of the woods, which I observed were shamefully mutilated by the natives, & also for the preservation of game.”[1]

Queen Victoria copied the sea wall at Norris when she bought Osborne House, next door.

Queen Victoria copied the sea wall at Norris when she bought Osborne House, next door.

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272: How did paddocks work?

272 Ugbrooke outwork

The outworks of the Danish Camp at Ugbrooke might easily be mistaken for the pale of a mediaeval deer park.

The question that exercises my good friends from Devonshire, on the other hand, is ‘where the deer were at Ugbrooke?’ ‘Did they wander freely over all the extensive parkland, or were they contained in smaller paddocks?’

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68: Netting?

 

If this were a strictly theatrical planting, the spiky junipers would be out of place

If this were a strictly theatrical planting, the spiky junipers would be out of place

How productive simple misunderstandings can be! My note 67 caught the eye of Mrs B of Kew, who was prompted by the discussion of netties to ask about netting shrubberies to protect them from grazing animals.

Well, Mrs B, that’s not precisely what is meant by a nettie, but your question remains worthwhile.

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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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93: Will anyone stand up for thorn?

‘The hawthorn.., has little claim to picturesque beauty… Its shape is bad. It does not taper, like the holly, but is rather a matted, round, heavy bush.’ Notwithstanding the Rev William Gilpin’s attack, there is a case to be made for hawthorn as the native that Capability Brown planted in greater numbers than any other tree, ‘the pride of park scenery’ as William Marshall called it.

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31: What’s up with variety?

Everybody loves variety, whether French:  ‘The finest gardens are those which are the most varied’ [Diderot]; Chinese: ‘Each of these Valleys is diversify`d from all the rest, both by their manner of laying out the Ground, and in the Structure and disposition of its Buildings.’ [Joseph Spence]; or English: ‘Mr Pope used to say that all the beauties of gardening might be comprehended in one word, variety.’

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47: How can water stop deer?

Preparing to wharf at Langley

Preparing to wharf at Langley

I have read a note from Dr E of Fife asking how lakes can work as any kind of a boundary in a deer park, since deer can swim. Dear Dr E, it’s all in the way the lake edge is constructed – wharfed or beached.

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24: Why are there thorn hedges round the clumps at Croome?

A newly planted quick hedge or single oxter, having a fence down one side

A newly planted quick hedge or single oxter, having a fence down one side

I have received a note from Mr H. of Bromsgrove, a man whose opinions I greatly admire. Mr H. has read my notes on Croome, and having recently visited himself, he asks for my comments on the thorn hedges

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23: Can you see Croome in less than forty minutes?

Part 4: the conduit

Mrs D. has been in touch again and is clearly unhappy. She explains that she had hoped to tour the whole of Worcestershire in three days, and wonders if I could offer her Croome in 40 minutes.

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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs