The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Category: Art and design (Page 1 of 7)

46: Rabbits?

Professor M gardens on the greensand ridge in Bedfordshire and tells me she is plagued by rabbits.

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293: What part did infinity play?

The Bar adopts at times the quietly assured purr of the contented cat who has seen the mouse and is merely waiting for a propitious moment to spring.

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299: What is Brown’s legacy?

Recently returned from his tour to the eastern states, Captain Ken has reported his astonishment that Americans could describe the architecture and layout of New York as beautiful, and his further astonishment at the praise they heaped on the scenery along the train line from New York to Philadelphia.

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297: Who’d live in a village?

Many questions have been raised about the standing of the 18th century village. Was it Oliver Goldsmith’s Auburn and a heaven on earth, or was it squalid, unsanitary and absolutely to be avoided?

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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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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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264: What does Kent have to do with it?

Capability Brown was no dandy but a diamond-decent  down-home sort of chap and when Mr C of Essex asked me what that great master of gardening Capability Brown might have learned from Kent, I took it to my companions at the Tatler’s Waste-bin who wondered whether he had the county in mind or the man said to have been his master, that coiffed stylist, William Kent.

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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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220: Did Brown really use geometry?

No more than a fortnight ago I found myself in colloquy with Mrs M from Barnsley who asked if that asked if the lugubrious Capability Brown really used geometry as much as I think he did.

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252: How is it for you? (2) Skills

Before writing this, the second of four notes on our understanding of Capability Brown, I took my proposal to the Tatler’s Waste-bin for the consideration of my fellows, and the attempt was approved. Here then is our matured consideration of the up-bringing, skills and attainments attainments – in short the reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic of Capability Brown.

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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs