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The Englishness of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown

John Phibbs
Garden History
Vol. 31, No. 2 (Winter, 2003), pp. 122-140
Published by: Garden History Society
DOI: 10.2307/1587291
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1587291
Page Count: 19
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The Englishness of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown
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Abstract

The paper makes the absence of exotic flora at Stowe, Buckinghamshire, a starting point for an examination of the 'Englishness' of eighteenth-century landscape and of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown's role in its development. From Stowe's temples, it develops an opposition between English 'gothic' gardening and 'Chinese' gardening, and places Brown firmly in the gothic camp. It then sets John Claudius Loudon's theory of landscape development against a suggestion made by Thomas Whateley on improvement; and develops a theory of English gothic landscape through an analysis of the importance of cricket, hay-making and sheep farming. Finally, the paper examines the association of parkland with waste, and opposes to it an idea of Brownian productive parkland, before concluding with some remarks on Brown as a 'creator' of England.

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