The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Category: Imagination

1836: was Repton influenced by Horace Walpole? – by Mrs Anne Radcliffe?

Oofy here: Editorial: Less Rhubarb. Drop it.

A gloss from the Type-Setter. Our editor rightly feels that too much ink is spent on Horace Walpole because the man is so quotable. The Professor on the other hand is greatly attached to the gothic.

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1834: was the Reverend William Gilpin an influence?

‘When in Sense and Sensibility Marianne Dashwood lamented that “every body pretends to feel and tries to describe with the taste and elegance of him who first defined what picturesque beauty was”, the ‘him’ in question was the Reverend William Gilpin.

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1831: What made Repton different from Brown?

Oofy here: Editorial: Not interested in this. What’s Repton, what’s Brown? Without Austen.

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1819: Is Repton any good?

Oofy here: Editorial: The Professor, Vilém Mrštík: cloak, battered silk hat, consumptive, tin of small white pills (says he takes them for his cough), stick with a silver skull, book with soft leather covers under his arm in which (I looked) a collection of erotic art, limps.

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148: Is Berrington a work of the imagination?


A house on a grass slope, with the water below. What could be more simple?

Mr S of Leominster has on occasion been mistaken for a badger, but Berrington he knows for itself, having for well over 20 years read the research and rootled about the grounds. In his correspondence therefore he goes on to ask how much a reliance on the documents should give way to the imagination for an understanding of a place .

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135: What is ‘the very extremity of Mr Brown’s taste’?

Mr C of Dagenham, a formidable scholar of the old school, has asked me why anyone should regard the landscape at Shugborough as anything like Brown’s work.

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142: Get da pitcher?

Mr L from New York called to tell me he’s in pictures and ‘dis Brown guy – whadda ya got?’

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18: Why were country houses so cut off?

Nick Owen's photograph of the view to Tuthill from the Wallington riding, shows a landscape that is far from cut off.

Nick Owen’s photograph of the view to Tuthill from the Wallington riding, shows a landscape that is far from cut off.

The plain fact is that in the 18th century country houses weren’t cut off. We imagine things and deceive ourselves.

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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs