A Brush with Brown reviewed

‘If the really big players in Brown’s world (Burghley, Chatsworth, Longleat, Sherborne, Harewood, Audley End and Blenheim for a start) are elsewhere then Tim Scott Bolton has painted them all for A Brush with Brown.  Here are more than forty places, arranged chronologically through Brown’s life, starting with a watercolour of Kirkharle church, and ending with Nuneham and Heveningham. Here are large landscapes in oils and smaller watercolour studies, mostly painted recently, but there is a precious 1982 watercolour of the view of Longleat from Heaven’s Gate through Brown’s great beeches that were felled in the 1987 Storm. The Dovecote Press have created a most elegant volume in landscape format, set in Baskerville and printed in Spain on a smooth cream paper which is a delight to handle.

Tim Scott Bolton paints in the English landscape tradition, for instance he goes to some lengths to find the view that Girtin and Turner took of Harewood; like them he prefers to work standing at his easel though sometimes, wishing ‘to remain invisible a pochade box is an excellent alternative’. This allows him to sit with his canvas and palette on his knees, discreetly hidden from prying eyes or the irate gamekeeper. He recounts Brown’s adventures and his own at each place; most gloriously he captures (as no camera can) ‘the long shadows and the freshness of the morning’, the sunbeams, the sheen on waters, the scudding clouds and lowering cedars, the hogweed and  the soggy meadows, the vital textures of Brown’s world.’

Jane Brown, author of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, The Omnipotent Magician 1716-1783, in Parks and Gardens UK