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.
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’.
Throw out the gripes of Stephen Switzer, and that much respected Reverend, William Gilpin, as well as his confrère Thomas Hale, who regarded it as ‘not very picturesque’, because it presented too uniform a surface. Let us sing the praises of the common lime.
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’.