The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Tag: Claremont (Page 1 of 2)

1846: Did Repton work for a lower class of person than Brown?

‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, though unsupported by any evidence, that Humphry Repton worked for a lower class of people than Brown.

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280: What news of the Norfolk school?

Before recommending to our public Tom Williamson and David Brown’s Lancelot Brown and the Capability Men (London: Reacktion Books, 2016), the new basket of bouquets to that ‘Tractor of True Taste, Capability Brown, my friends and I decided we would each select some bonbon from the book that would justify such a purchase.

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266: Could Brown see two fronts at once?

Captain Ken is an excellent and reliable fellow, if inclined to extreme scepticism when he comes across any suggestion of the Brown Advisor’s. He numbers archery amongst his past-times and it was while we were amusing ourselves at the butts that he asked me whether I was sticking to the notion that Capability Brown preferred to show off his houses in a head-on view. I said I did, for Brown was a friend to freedom and a foe to forced solutions: if head-on was the most obvious way to see a house, then head-on is what he would provide. Indeed I had already published my opinion on the matter (note 12 for example).

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259: Did Brown plant groves?


The groves of Blenheim were captured in their infancy by S.H.Grimm

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.

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241: What is the ‘valley direct’?

The valley direct, cut into the slope that runs from Prior Park to the bridge

The valley direct, cut into the slope that runs from Prior Park to the bridge

I am rebuked by Dr S in far-away London for a recent communication (note 236) in which I made little attempt to explain to my readers the differences between the ‘valley direct’, the ‘valley transverse’ and the ‘valley adventitious’.

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236: What do you know about valleys?

The golden valley, as fine an example of the valley adventitious as you will ever see

The golden valley, as fine an example of the valley adventitious as you are ever likely to see

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.

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235: Was Brown a pigmy?

My postman is always the first to know when Mrs L of Melton Mowbray has filled her pen.

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193: Now, tell me about Yew rows?

I find myself caught in a dilemma in respect of the plants used by the King’s gardener Capability Brown. On the one hand, Dr L writes from Essex to ask for more practical detail, as she is encouraging her students to consult the Brown Advisor. On the other hand Mr R of Finsbury Park, London, would prefer a deeper, more abstract, probe into the meaning of the formidable Capability Brown, if there be such.

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190: How did the laurel get its name?

When Captain Ken blew into the Tatler’s Waste-bin whistling that air from A.E. Housman – he has a light tenor and a way with a rousing chorus, in this case ‘‘We’ll to the woods no more/The laurels are all cut’

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164: What are master-classes for?

When it comes to master-classes, it is not only ‘what are master-classes for?’, but ‘who they are for?’, and even, with apologies to grammar, ‘why they are for?’ The best I can do by way of response to these questions is to summarise the sentiments of our head honcho, John Phibbs, who will be leading the April series.

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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs