The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Tag: Alnwick

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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277: What of James Paine (2)?

Having recently partaken of viands and a bottle or two of the finest ginger beer, the occasion benign, and the mood as refreshing as a cool breeze on a hot day, I and my companions beg to offer an apology for having hitherto left unaddressed the life and work of the great architect James Paine (1717–1789).

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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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217: Can we trust Brown’s accounts?

I have received numerous inquiries relating to the account book of l’incroyable, Capability Brown. The volume is now the property of the Royal Horticultural Society and kept in their Linley Library.

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247: Who was James Clarke?

Just as the sun when it sinks to its rest in the western sky may appear vanquished by the forces of the dark, so on occasion the hopes of mankind will sink like balloons, their speculations punctured by cold facts.

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238: How are we to know where Brown worked?

Mr Honey beat my door like an old carpet this morning, with the complaint that all the talk of valleys whether ‘transverse, direct or the other thing’ in my recent note (note 236) made a wholly misleading summary of our discussions.

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122: Did Brown get on with architects?

Mr M is curious to know how a landscape gardener like Capability Brown will have got along with architects, supposing they were employed at the same time, and has written from London to ask which of the two would rule the roost.

05-Drawing-by-Nicholson

John Carr is very likely to have been involved with Scampston, but the house still looked like Brown’s handiwork.

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57: Did Brown design cock-pits?

An armoured cockerel, impregnable, but unable to do much damage either

An armoured cockerel, impregnable, but unable to do much damage either

Mr M from Cromer has asked if Capability Brown, excellent man that he was and energetic, had been so egregious as to take a hand in the landscaping of Wothorpe, Burghley’s second house, with its cock-pit, which remained in use though the Brownian era.

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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