The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Category: The management of landscape (Page 1 of 6)

295: Where did he get his trees?

Mrs W of Newcastle-upon-Tyne has asked where the indigenous and ingenious Capability Brown, idol of Indians and Chiefs alike, got his trees and it’s a good question, especially when it comes from that splendid city Newcastle, strong indeed in the matter of coal-mines and ships, but less so when it comes to the commercial tree nurseries of the 18th century.

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298: Should landscapes be private?

I return to my recent communication (note 296) in response to a particular query from Miss P of Harlaxton who asks what grounds I have for supposing that the Dukes of Rutland drew their sense of themselves from the deep, and probably imagined, past.

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284: Are there no crumbs?

Hirsute and with her head in a bandage again, Mrs W of Staffordshire never looks her best after a fall, but her one wild eye is still a-roving, and thus she came to me seeking as it were a mix of bread-crumbs which she felt would liven up this dish of advisory notes and give them more kick as they came fresh from the oven.

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278: What of critics?

At this stage in our tercentennial celebrations for that roly-poly, roistering rooster and riding man, Capability Brown, I have heard cries and sighs of satiation from men and from women – there is too much juice I hear, too much pleasure, they are browned off with Brown.

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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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254: How is it for you? (4) Theory, judgement and attribution

My fellows at the Tatler’s Waste-bin have asked me to make this fourth be our final resumé of progress in the study of the work of Capability Brown during 2016, his tercentennial, his triumphal year. They fear lest we show too great a partiality for Dr Sarah Rutherford’s work. Here then is a further miscellany of observations largely gleaned from her text.

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253: How is it for you? (3) Land management

Forgive me if in this note I resume my happy task of setting out the progress of enlightened thought in pursuit of that snappy salesman, the gardener, Capability Brown, through a consideration of Dr Sarah Rutherford’s new book Capability Brown and his landscape gardens.

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257: What do you know about turkeys?

As if to console me for the equivocation of my last (note 256), Dr L-G, whose Malvern garden had brought on the volte-face, has just told me the most extraordinary thing à propos turkeys, a subject already touched upon by the Brown Advisor (note 113). It appears that Sir William Chambers reported to his friend Thomas Worsley in 1774 that ‘Master Brown had put padlocks on the wilderness at Hampton Court where he breeds turkeys’. What an extraordinary thing to learn.

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233: How can I tell one warren from another?

Miss K of Bristol has written to the Brown Advisor in search of some tangible distinctions between the hare and the rabbit warren or conigree.

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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs