Many have been the triumphs of Capability Brown’s tercentenary
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.
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.
Returning from a refreshing afternoon in Slough to a fresh delivery of correspondence on the hall table, I was just in time to catch a note from the Tyne as it slid from the top of the pile onto the floor. It was Mr O with news from Northumberland, and a question: did Capability Brown ever plant avenues?
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.’