No more than a fortnight ago I found myself in colloquy with Mrs M from Barnsley who asked if that asked if the lugubrious Capability Brown really used geometry as much as I think he did.
Tag: Croome (Page 1 of 2)
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.
‘The ilex, or ever-green oak, presents a character very different from that of the yew. The yew is a close bodied, compact tree. The ilex is generally thin, and straggling; tho we sometimes see it, in soils, which it likes, form a thicker foliage.’ Such, from his vantage point in the New Forest, was the judgement of the Rev. William Gilpin.
London Plane (Platanus x hispanica) was a tree that very much came into its own in Brown’s day. At the beginning of his century, Thomas Hamilton had to confess that ‘tho they are now comeing in Request here, … as I have no kind of Experience of them, I shall be Silent’.
That 17th century virtuoso, Sir Thomas Hanmer, had fine words for coppices and the right way to treat them: ‘thicketts for birds cut through with severall straight or winding gravelly walkes, or [make] a variety of alleys set with high trees as elms, limes, abells, firs pines or others, with fountains Canals, Grottes Cascataes statues, arbours cabinets avearyes and seats disperst as the design and nature of the place will admit.’
So Horace Walpole thought that that great and gracious gardener, the good Capability Brown got his ideas from William Kent and Philip Southcote. ‘Who?’ exclaimed the sociable Mr Honey when I told him. ‘William Kent? – Furniture designer, set painter, associate of Burlington’ ‘Not him, the other one.’