The Omnipotent Magician: Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, 1716–1783 by Jane Brown - review by Amanda Foreman

Amanda Foreman

The Earth Moved for Him

The Omnipotent Magician: Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, 1716–1783

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‘Capability’ Brown, the most famous of all eighteenth-century landscape designers – and the father of the landscape garden – never wrote a manual or recorded his musings for posterity. In fact, were it not for an illuminating conversation with Hannah More in 1782, the year before he died, critics might have got away with the accusation that he possessed nothing but a good eye for effect.

Fortunately for Brown’s reputation, More recorded the encounter. The two were at Hampton Court Palace when Brown directed her attention to the landscape:

‘Now there’, said he, pointing his finger, ‘I make a comma, and there’, pointing to another spot, ‘where a more decided turn is proper,

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