The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Tag: Chatsworth (Page 1 of 3)

46: Rabbits?

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

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301: Was Brown a land artist?

Mrs M writes from New York to ask whether the great gardener (but perhaps in this context he might be better described as an earth-mover) Capability Brown might be compared to the American land artists on the fourth quarter of the 20th century.

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289: What is the difference between a house and a hall?

Ms K has been in touch from Leeds over a matter of propriety. She wonders if Dukes always live in palaces, and if there is a pecking order in the names of houses as there is in the orders of the nobility.

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287: What is a deer house?

I am proud to number amongst my acquaintance, Dr J  – I would add ‘of Sheffield’ but that he is so often to be found in Lichfield – or any other field come to that.

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284: Are there no crumbs?

Hirsute and with her head in a bandage again, Mrs W of Staffordshire never looks her best after a fall, but her one wild eye is still a-roving, and thus she came to me seeking as it were a mix of bread-crumbs which she felt would liven up this dish of advisory notes and give them more kick as they came fresh from the oven.

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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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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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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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239: Have you forgotten Joseph Doody?

Of course once one starts on one thing, something else is sure to happen. This suggestion that gardeners and designers, even significant ones like William Emes, might on occasion have been taken on to finish what the effortlessly euphuistic, Capability Brown, had begun, scarcely ventured upon in notes 217, 218 and 238 now brings a shower of other examples down on my head: Why not Michael Milican, working to Brown’s instruction at Chatsworth, but paid by the Duke and not by Brown? Why not Winkles – Brown’s man at Tottenham, who never figures in Brown’s accounts?

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214: Did Brown really dislike deer?

In my last (note 213), I offered to my companions at the Tatler’s Waste-bin a list of all those landscapes of that fine man and lord-lieutenant of Huntingdon, Capability Brown, for which I had records of an active deer park.

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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs