The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Tag: Coombe Abbey

219: Did Thomas Whately know Capability Brown?

I was delighted to meet Dr S, whom one seldom meets outside his native Surrey, striding amongst the glorious hedgerows of paschal Buckinghamshire. As two people will who share a common interest, we fell to a discussion of the ridings, as they were designed by that king of the English countryside, Capability Brown.

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245: Did Brown work at Wentworth Castle?

The spoil heap at Wentworth Castle

The spoil heap at Wentworth Castle

Days come in late March or in April, when Spring has not wholly disentangled herself from Winter, but there is a freshness to the air and it is better to be out than to be in. So I am advised by the good folk of Health and Safety , who have asked me to warn you that happiness can cause damage in confined spaces.

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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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229: Is Blenheim Brown’s biggest lake?

Mr G writes from Wolverhampton has asked me whether Chillington has the second biggest (after Blenheim) of the lakes constructed by Mr ‘Capability’ Brown, himself a man of unquestioned parts..

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141: Quack? Squawk? Growl?

Mrs F has contacted me from Kenilworth to ask whether Capability Brown designed menageries.

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24: Why are there thorn hedges round the clumps at Croome?

A newly planted quick hedge or single oxter, having a fence down one side

A newly planted quick hedge or single oxter, having a fence down one side

I have received a note from Mr H. of Bromsgrove, a man whose opinions I greatly admire. Mr H. has read my notes on Croome, and having recently visited himself, he asks for my comments on the thorn hedges

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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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6: Did Brown travel abroad?

The domed octagon of the menagerie at Coombe resembles the Great Menagerie at Versailles

The domed octagon of the menagerie at Coombe resembles the Great Menagerie at Versailles

A correspondent, purporting to be Señor J.M.P-G. d’A  de P. y A., president of the bull-fighting appreciation society of Seville, has written to let me know that Capability Brown is still remembered in that city as a fighter – a great toreador, celebrated for the flourish with which he executed his Veronicas, and that it was through his cape ability that he acquired his nick-name.

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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs