The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Category: Water (Page 1 of 3)

285: What of Steffie Shields?

A delayed train to Carlisle having given me an hour or two in hand at Newcastle, I resolved to indulge myself with Steffie Shields Moving Heaven and Earth Capability Brown’s gift of landscape.

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275: What was Thomas Bardwell painting at Wentworth?

We talk of course, we discuss, we chat, and at the Tatler’s Waste-bin we may even disagree. But may I say that we learn less from any fact that may be gleaned from this harvest of words, than from the lively and generous nature in which our disputes are conducted. A certain benign mood will descend upon the company and impart its blessing.

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234: Could Brown have made his lake at Belvoir?

234 Belvoir lakes

The lakes at Belvoir Castle, drawn by Nick Haycock; outlines added by the editor.

An unexpected but nonetheless welcome slew of fresh post has washed across the breakfast table, leaving in its receding tide the wrack of those questions that arise unbroken and yet entangled in the miasmic effusions of that Zeno of mystery, the lake-maker Capability Brown.

The most prominent amongst them was captured a fortnight ago by Mr R of Islington, who has not been alone in asking: if Brown made his lakes by damming up a valley, how much did he have to excavate?

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261: Did Brown puddle?

There is something about a dumpling, as Mr Honey has often had cause to observe, that brings out the good in a man, and it was not four days ago that the truth of this apothegm was brought home to me.

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265: Why do we need William Emes?

I recall a conversation with the late Dr Keith Goodway, whose knowledge of the landscape gardener William Emes was second to none, and sprang from Keith’s place of work (Keele University) his interest in the landscaping of the place, and the fact that William Emes had worked there – as he worked also at many other places in the West Midlands.

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262: What is it about Brown and drains?

It has been my great good fortune to spend a few days recently at liberty in Fenstanton, that tranquil village neatly bisected by the Felixstowe Road which serves here to link the Great North Road with the M11.

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245: Did Brown work at Wentworth Castle?

The spoil heap at Wentworth Castle

The spoil heap at Wentworth Castle

Days come in late March or in April, when Spring has not wholly disentangled herself from Winter, but there is a freshness to the air and it is better to be out than to be in. So I am advised by the good folk of Health and Safety , who have asked me to warn you that happiness can cause damage in confined spaces.

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229: Is Blenheim Brown’s biggest lake?

Mr G writes from Wolverhampton has asked me whether Chillington has the second biggest (after Blenheim) of the lakes constructed by Mr ‘Capability’ Brown, himself a man of unquestioned parts..

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221: How great an influence has Brown had?

Mr Honey has joined me in my country place and just now, stretched out under an apple tree and sucking on a straw, he gives a passable impression of rural content.

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230: What did other people think about cascades?

I draw this short account of cascades to a close with one note by Stephen Switzer, who brought to England the skills, honed at Versailles, which Brown inevitably adopted, and another by Brown’s great rival, Sir William Chambers.

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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs