The good Yorkshireman Professor W*, to whom I referred in my last, has also raised with me the question of groves, and in particular, for he has a great interest in the subject, whether Brown himself was a planter of groves.
There will occur, in landscape, natural valleys, small advances in the slope, hardly enough to be named. At Burghley they carried springs and Capability Brown drained and smoothed them off when he made the lake, but in later works – Ugbrooke, Ashridge, Gatton, Benham above the lake – he offered to these adventitious declivities the same spare planting that he gave to the ‘valley direct’ at Claremont.
Miss S writes to tell me that being newly arrived in Berkhamstead she took herself to view the town’s great landmark, known as the Golden Valley, and she wonders now if that master of beech-hung beauty, Capability Brown, whom she knew by reputation, could have worked his wizardry there.
It being advent, and the braziers at every lamp-post with hot Spanish chestnuts for sale, that fine gentleman and man of parts, Mr Honey, on our meeting at the Tatler’s Waste-Bin, offered me one from a small brown paper-bag he had stuffed in his waistcoat, and then declared that Sweet Chestnut was the most superb of trees, echoing Thomas Hale, ‘very much superior … in every Respect’.