Step aside Shakespeare, make room for Capability

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

I have some wonderful news for one and all. On 29th May Capability Brown is to be commemorated with a fountain in the cloister garth at Westminster Abbey. This is not just the honour due to a great man, it also represents a final recognition by the establishment of the importance of landscape in our national culture and life. What better way to celebrate the tercentenary. The credit is all Alan Titchmarsh…

Another review - this time The Times

Monday, 27 November 2017

Place-making - if I read aright - is at the top of Stephen Anderton's list for best gardening books of 2017. Furthermore he appears to have read it. Furthermore he has published his views in The Times - and to prove it, here is the link:


Who is this man Anderton? He deserves a medal!

Johnny Phibbs

Two more reviews of Place-making

Tuesday, 21 November 2017


Dear all, a couple more reviews have come in. They help to clarify in my own mind what I was writing about - which is as follows. Anyone who visits a designed landscape will notice the primroses, the ducks on the pond, the autumn colour and the pointing finger of a dead branch on a tree - these are the simple pleasures available to all who visit parks and they were the starting point of the first…

Country Life Review of Place-making (1st November 2017)

Friday, 10 November 2017

Country life review

Dear all, I've just seen a rather pleasing review of Place-making in Country Life (1st November 2017)  

I hope it will reassure you that you have made a wise purchase. George Plumptre (the reviewer) says the book is a bit of a difficult read. I hope you haven't found it to be so. Dense perhaps, and challenging, particularly as it revisits our preconceptions about Brown, I find that a couple of…

The Brown Advisor is for museums! Arise the Repton Gazette

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

It is only now that I can break the news to paid-up enthusiasts for Brown that there was always a bigger plan, not just to re-establish Brown, the great master, in the national consciousness, but through his work to bring to public attention landscape itself and the great English tradition of which he was the leading light. Connoisseurs of Brown will already be familiar with the Brown Advisor (http…

At last!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

I hope you've received a copy of Place-making by now. I hope too that it will prove worth the wait - worth the weight? - it is a very much reduced version of the manuscript, and I hope also therefore that that refining process has not made it unreadably dense. Finally I hope that the argument I present will be coherent, novel and persuasive, and that we will live to see landscape take its place amongst…

Good news on the blog, less good on Place-making

Sunday, 29 January 2017

One or two people have asked and I am no longer certain that Place-making will be out in February - we are at present finalising the index - but it will be out - be in no doubt of that!

However I am now tidying up the Brown Advisor (http://thebrownadvisor.com/) and this will shortly result in a new set of categories to help people navigate the blog, It is still getting around 1,000 visitors per…

Compton Verney (18th November) and the first review

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

A couple of things.

An amazingly positive review has come in from Tim Richardson in the Literary Review. (https://literaryreview.co.uk/earthly-delights)

It should reassure you that the book exists and is on its way. I only hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. It's like the first sign of Spring before we've even had winter.

For those of you who can't come to the launch of the Rizzoli book…

Correction - also an invitation

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Capability brown evite

Dear all, I have it hot from Historic England that they are now putting back the publication date for Place-making to February 2017. It's not exactly tercentennial, but none the worse for that I hope. My apologies to all those who had hoped to nod over their pledged volumes by the fire after Christmas dinner.

Let me offer by way of compensation an invitation to the book launch of the companion…

Lest you be confused

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

I cannot speak for you, but in my house Capability Brown's tercentenary rolls towards a cvrescendo, with timpani and trumpets. First the Brown Advisor has now posted his 292nd note (http://thebrownadvisor.com/). The target that fits the year (300) is within sight. The Tatler's Waste-bin however is still open for additional questions. Second, the fifth edition of the list of sites attributed to Brown…

I feel remiss

Monday, 22 February 2016

I feel remiss at not sending any words of encouragement to you when you have pledged to buy my book. The fact is that I have been editing a blog in which questions that I receive about Brown get responses. Try http://thebrownadvisor.com/ and note that I have now restored to it a button that enables you to subscribe and hence get sent an email every time a new post goes up. It's hard to resist.

Publication date: TBC
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