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date: 30 September 2022

Repton, Humphry 

The Oxford Companion to the Garden
Patrick TaylorPatrick Taylor

(1752–1818), English landscape designer and author.Repton, after William Kent and Capability Brown, was the greatest English landscape designer of the 18th century and had virtues that neither of his predecessors possessed. He was a thoroughly professional and astonishingly prolific designer who was also anxious to explain the nature of his craft in his writings. He formed the habit of producing ‘Red Books’ (they were usually bound in red leather) which contained proposals for his clients' landscapes in the form of text and his own watercolour paintings (‘better to elucidate my opinion than mere words’), often equipped with flaps of paper so that ‘before’ and ‘after’ views could be displayed. He produced over 400 Red Books of which fewer than 200 survive, giving a vivid idea of the way he went about his work. He was 36 when he took up garden designing, producing thereafter an average of well over one Red Book every month of his life. By no means all his proposals were accepted, and many were for relatively small areas, but the work of producing his submissions was enormous and time consuming.... ...

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