The Repton Gazette and Brown Advisor

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

Tag: Southill (Page 1 of 2)

46: Rabbits?

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

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291: Is pedantry a virtue?

The more than distinguished Professor H of Pennsylvania has communicated and in his communication he makes it clear in his by-the-way fashion that when Sir William Chambers described the designs of the master-illusionist, Capability Brown, as little more than a walk around a common field, he meant ‘common field’ in the sense ‘common or garden’, that is, ordinary, everyday.

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281: Was Brown asking for trouble?

Mr Honey comes in spinning like a top – I have seldom seen such irritability in a man – and flings onto our table first one issue then another then another of The Spectator – a journal with which I feel myself to be closely associated. Indeed it is one in which I take a nigh-on paternal interest.  Each of these issues has within it another attack on the landscapes of Capability Brown.

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263: What about common land?

Some ideas, finding their way into the mind, attach themselves like chewing gum to every passing thought, and so it is with me with respect to drainage, the subject of my last (note 262).

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243: What is the ‘valley adventitious’?

A grove of sweet chestnut on the side of an adventitious valley at Benham

A grove of sweet chestnut on the side of an adventitious valley at Benham

There will occur, in landscape, natural valleys, small advances in the slope, hardly enough to be named.  At Burghley they carried springs and Capability Brown drained and smoothed them off when he made the lake, but in later works – Ugbrooke, Ashridge, Gatton, Benham above the lake – he offered to these adventitious declivities the same spare planting that he gave to the ‘valley direct’ at Claremont.

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242: What is the ‘valley transverse’?

The valley at Bowood runs behind the house to the lake

The valley at Bowood runs behind the house to the lake

In my last I introduced the ‘valley direct’ in the face of stern opposition. The ‘valley transverse’ is a more fugitive idea and the opposition, I fear, will be still more fierce. Yet in my rambles with the Captain I have on several occasions noticed valleys in the landscapes of that happy hunter, Capability Brown, that neither run direct to the house, nor are set at right angles to it, in the way that I described in my last post. 

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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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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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221: How great an influence has Brown had?

Mr Honey has joined me in my country place and just now, stretched out under an apple tree and sucking on a straw, he gives a passable impression of rural content.

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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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The Brown Advisor©2015

By John Phibbs