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Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening.

Including some remarks on Grecian and Gothic architecture.

Stock Code 91546

London, T. Bensley for J. Taylor, 1803

Original price $11,201.00 - Original price $11,201.00
Original price $11,201.00
$11,201.00 - $11,201.00
Current price $11,201.00
An important work which provides 'a guide to [Repton's] approach to landscape design, with explanations of his aims and his methods of achieving them in specific instances'.

The book is a compilation of texts from a number of the Red Books he had composed since his last publication, many of them now lost - those for Balstrode, Corsham, Gayhurst, Shardeloes, and West Wycombe. Several others are now in American collections - those for Armley, Brandesbury, Culford, Ferney, the Royal Fort, Bristol, and Stonelands.

Repton's Red Books, almost always bound in red morocco, included Repton's suggestions for ways to make clients' estates even more beautiful; with a hill removed here, a lake created there, a clump of trees artfully placed... The books were not printed but were manuscripts with the texts, maps, and drawings done by experts at the height of their professions. Each book included a before and after - a watercolour view of the chosen scene after proposed changes had been made, overlaid by a hinged cutout turning the picture back to the original view.

The Red Books formed handsome albums of views for display in the patron's library, to serve as plans or to record work in progress. But Repton's work was very expensive: some clients commissioned their surveys for social prestige, but never attempted to put his recommendations into practice.

Repton's Observations is, in effect, a handbook of tricks of the trade, or rather profession, for, unlike Capability Brown, who had usually contracted himself for work, Repton acted only as a consultant and overseer (Millard). 'The overlays in Repton's books on landscape gardening, by means of which he showed selected prospects before and after he had turned his hand to them, have caused collectors to treasure his engravings as curiosities, but they are remarkable as well for the evidence of his draughtsmanship' (Ray).

First edition, 4to. (34 x 27 cm)., stipple-engraved portrait frontispiece, 25 aquatint plates and 2 line-engraved plates, of which 12 are hand-coloured or tinted and 12 plates have overlays, 10 aquatint head and tail pieces and numerous woodcut illustrations in text, 2 of the vignettes with overlays, folding plate at page 208 with tears into image repaired, contemporary half calf, joints and extremities repaired, lightly worn.

Millard, British Books, 65 (second edition); Abbey Scenery 390; Berlin Kat. 3431; Ray 38.

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Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening.

REPTON, Humphry.

Stock code: 91546



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