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 book (Capability Brown designing the English Landscape, for Rizzoli). Since all Brown's landscapes offer these same simple and pleasurable incidents, most people have concluded that all Brown's landscapes were much of a muchness, the Rizzoli book therefore set out from an acceptance of that beauty in landscape to track the course of Brown's career and show how rapidly he progressed beyond his contemporaries and how radically his ideas about what he was doing changed. In the second book, Place-making, which you have bought (Hurrah!) I wanted, among many other things, to show that one could comfortably discuss Brown in the context of any of the greatest figures in English, and European, history: Gainsborough and Turner, Wordsworth and Coleridge, David Garrick and Dr Johnson, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Tolstoy, Locke and Hume and Adam Smith. My aim is not to be right in my conclusions about Brown (though of course I think I am right) but to ensure that his work is never again dismissed as 'sweeping away' or summarised with no further ado as house, lawn and lake, set off with trees. Anyway, the length and gravitas of these two reviews do suggest that I am on a good path.
A Happy Christmas to you all,
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