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Humphry Repton - Summary

Date of Birth: 21/04/1752

Date of Death: 24/03/1818

Gender: male

Occupation: Designer


Humphry Repton, landscape designer, was born on 21 April 1752 at Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England. He is regarded as the last great landscape designer of the 18th century and was determined to succeed 'Capability' Brown.

Despite early business failures in the textile industry Repton was able to call upon his social contacts to become patrons for his first landscape commissions. His first was at Catton, Norfolk, England for the mayor and textile merchant, Jeremiah Ives, and his second was at Holkham, England (1788) for Thomas Coke. 

Repton viewed landscaping as an art form and this can be found when studying his renowned 'Red Books' or folios, which he used to present his plans, drawings, maps and passages of writing. Not all of his commissions were associated with a Red Book, but they were nonetheless, an important element of his landscape repetoire.

Towards the end of the 18th century, Repton was embroiled in a dispute with Richard Payne Knight and Uvedale Price regarding the development of the Picturesque. The dispute centred on the relationship between landscape gardening and landscape painting. Knight and Price were experts on the master painters and as such believed that the improvement of landscapes should be based on the rules of landscape art; Repton vehemently disagreed.

Despite these disputes Repton maintained his reputation and was employed at a large number of estates, particularly in England, including Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire; Woburn Abbey, Bedforshire; Tatton Park, Cheshire; Longleet, Wiltshire; Harewood House, West Yorkshire; and Cobham Hall, Kent. 

Repton died on 24 March 1818 at Hare Street in Essex, where he had spent the last four years corresponding with his friends and family as well as writing his memoirs.

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