The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Category: Mapping (Page 1 of 2)

208: What is an attribution?

The reference on the Uppark plan looks too neat for Brown

The reference on the Uppark plan looks too neat for Brown

The Brown Advisor has long accepted as law the judgements of scholarship. It is only because we have not accustomed ourselves that the pronouncements dredged up and synthesised from primary research will surprise us by their sometimes radical and iconoclastic conclusions. No matter what, no matter how eccentric their opinions then, the Brown Advisor welcomes the breadth and breath of the scholar.

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218: What was William Emes?

Recently met, a lady who remains anonymous, asked me that just man, Capability Brown, did at Wimpole.

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215: Who were the surveyors?

It sometimes happens that I overlook the introduction of a person to my wider acquaintance – not from any desire to keep that person to myself, but simply because he, or she, plays such a central role in my life that I have assumed that my acquaintances were all familiar with her, or him.

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210: What makes a plan Brown’s?

At the annual bean-feast of the Brown Advisor, we eat crisps only and only drink ginger beer and liquorice water. Thus we toast our youth as we turn to sober discussion of the topics of the day.

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212: Are Brown’s landscapes memorable?

There are none quicker to anger than Staffordshire folk. It may be their dogs and it has been put to me that the time they and their ancestors have spent firing clay, dull and dumb, in their bottle kilns has taught them that only the fire of extreme anger can bring forth the civilised charm of Wedgwood china – or maybe it is spending too much time with the bottle alone that does it.

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189: Can larch ever work?

My friends at the Tatler’s Waste-Bin have come at last to the larch and very much to my surprise praise for its character has been universal.

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196: Which Ireland worked at Southill?

Mrs P, one of a dazzling array of scholars at work on Luton Hoo, has asked particularly for further details about the career of William Ireland and the work he is likely to have carried out there.

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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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64: Why Spyers when Brown already had Lapidge?

Dr J of Stafford is the last person to whom one should look for perplexity and confusion. The elephantine reach of his erudition draws a clear stream from the pools of ignorance and darkness which have for so long benighted the world of Brownian scholarship.

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159: Have you visited the Horsham Museum?

I pass urgently to my readers the cheering news that Mr Knight, curator of the Horsham Museum (note 131) and forever ahead of the crowd, will shortly be opening the doors to his exhibition of ‘Captain’ Capability Brown, and the great landscape gardener’s plan for Hills Park, Horsham will be on display.

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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs