(Above photo illstration for Wentworth Woodhouse, South Yorkshire by Henry Repton)
Humphry Repton, Garden Designer is an 18th-century landscaper who boasts of improving over 400 gardens and landscapes across England. His designs made him a landscaping expert as seen through his Red Books. Born in 1752 in Bury St. Edmunds Suffolk, he developed a passion for gardening after failing in business severally.
But who exactly is Humphry Repton? What are some of the landscaping projects for which he is famous? This article discusses one of the greatest landscapers to have lived in England and his work (most of which can be seen today).
Repton was born into a family of successful merchants so, he was also expected to start and run a business. For some reason, the businesses he started couldnâ€™t succeed. Be soon discovered a passion in gardening, botany, and entomology, and sought to start a career related to them.
Early on, he attended Grammar School in Norwich. He later he went to Norway to learn Dutch in preparation for a career in business. Having worked as an apprentice to a Norwich textile merchant, Repton married Mary Clarke in 1773. The same year, Repton started a business.
Lacking aptitude in business, his venture didnâ€™t perform well. Upon his fatherâ€™s death in 1778, he received a small legacy, which he used to move to a country estate in Norfolk. That essentially marked the end to trying a hand in business.
(Above photo - Henry Repton Business Card )
Works as a Landscape Gardener
After securing a country estate in Norfolk, Repton became a private secretary to William Wyndham, Irelandâ€™s Lord Lieutenant and his neighbor. His new position introduced him to individuals who would become his gardening clients. After returning to Essex, he offered himself to clients as an â€˜improver of the landscape.â€™
It was not long before Reptonâ€™s clientele grew by a great deal. His place as Capability Brownâ€™s successor became apparent upon his return to England. He carried on Brownâ€™s style that involved having a clear vision of the house from the garden and related elements.
An example of his greatest work in the garden at Betchworth House, Surrey, which remains largely unchanged. The following are some of the other gardening projects undertaken by Repton throughout England:
Ashridge, Cobham Hall
(Above photo - Ashridge, Cobham Hall by Henry Repton )
Brighton Royal Pavilion
According to Repton, gardening was an art form that uses the landscape as a canvas. He built on the spaceâ€™s natural beauty, using art to enhance it. Besides implementing separate flower gardens, Repton created the flower bed.
( Above photo - Pair Terracotta Garden Urns Pedestal - Classical Celtic Gothic )
The Red Books are folios with drawings, plans, and maps of proposed improvements. He used overlaid watercolor paintings of the â€˜beforeâ€™ and â€˜afterâ€™ appearances of the estate. Repton soon discovered that having red covers on all the books could make them more saleable. Itâ€™s through these books that he clearly shows landscaping as an art worth pursuing.
(Above photo - Pair Stone Garden Urns Amphora Form )
Humphry Repton is undoubtedly one of the best gardening and landscaping specialists ever. He left a huge legacy of existing landscapes and wrote his designs in the Red Books. Anyone with interest in gardening should know who Repton is and what he did.
( Above photo - Pair Cast Iron Garden Urns - Floral Planters Campana Form Vase )
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