The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Category: Gardens (Page 1 of 2)

1851: Mount Edgcumbe: who designed the pleasure grounds?

Repton returned to Devon and Cornwall in around 1802, and perhaps he returned more often than that (see note 1848) and he was to begin two further Cornish commissions a few years later (Tregothnan in September 1809; Antony and Pentilllie in 1810).

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1823: Setting?

‘If the location of Norris Castle was not chosen by Humphry Repton, then we should not abjure the evidence for settings that he provided for other buildings in the late 18th century.’

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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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256: Was Brown really weird?

The Roses about to be plunged, in pots, into the garden.

The Roses about to be plunged, in pots, into the garden.

A Garden of Birds and Roses at Malvern

A Garden of Birds and Roses at Malvern – complete!

News in this second annus mirabilis is rushed to the table of the Brown Advisor from every point of the compass and from every letter in the alphabet. Why this morning I thought I was taking A for Ampthill at quite a lick, when I was distracted by a great thundering at the door and all the rest of the alphabet from B to Z clamoured to make an entry.

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255: How serious is Hampton Court?

Grove planting of some form in the foreground, and look at the regularly spaced bushes against the wall!

Grove planting of some form in the foreground, and look at the regularly spaced bushes against the wall!

Captain Ken commented to me only the other day that though he can walk 30 miles across country without thinking much of it, after twenty minutes in a picture gallery his back aches, his arches have fallen, a terrible feeling of torpor overcomes him, his body cries out for a pot of tea and a simple bench to rest himself upon.

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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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177: Did Brown use exotics in parkland? Robinia

Robinia pseudacacia was heralded by William Cobbett as the new, quicker growing oak, yet actually the Rev William Gilpin already knew it to be a brittle wood, and ‘besides, tho a shattered tree may grace a forest; yet, in an adorned scene, it disgusts.’

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168: What is real?

Freshly returned from his wanderings and laden with letters, the Brown Advisor finds a sheaf of inquiries, garnered and gathered in from correspondents in the United States, courtesy of Mrs F of Philadelphia. Over all runs the question of authenticity and the theme is one of trust: can one ever tell if any particular piece of landscaping is really Brown’s? And – I believe the innuendo is there – if you can’t tell, then why should we worry about him?

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166: Can you coppice exotics?

That 17th century virtuoso, Sir Thomas Hanmer, had fine words for coppices and the right way to treat them: ‘thicketts for birds cut through with severall straight or winding gravelly walkes, or [make] a variety of alleys set with high trees as elms, limes, abells, firs pines or others, with fountains Canals, Grottes Cascataes statues, arbours cabinets avearyes and seats disperst as the design and nature of the place will admit.’

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165: What is the difference between wildness and wilderness?

A somewhat technical question is proposed by Dr W of South Yorkshire who declares himself bewildered by our understanding and use of the two words ‘wildness’ and ‘wilderness’.

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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs