REPTON, Humphry (1752-1818)
Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening. Including some remarks on Grecian and Gothic Architecture, collected from various manuscripts, in the possession of the different Noblemen and Gentlemen
London: Printed by T. Bensley for J. Taylor, 1803. 4to. (14 x 11 1/2 inches). Stipple engraved portrait of the author by W. Holl after S. Shelley, 27 engraved or aquatint plates (including 12 hand-coloured, 3 tinted, 12 uncoloured; 12 with overslips, 1 folding, 1 double-page), numerous engraved, wood-engraved or aquatint vignettes and illustrations (2 with overslips).
Expertly bound to style in half calf and period marbled paper covered boards, spine gilt with wide raised bands in six compartments, marbled endpapers
Provenance: Mary Davidson (bookplate)
A fine copy of the first edition: a classic work on landscape gardening in which Repton lays out and illustrates what he considered to be the fixed principles which should be adhered to in any large scale scheme.
Humphry Repton was the main successor to Lancelot 'Capability' Brown as an improver of grounds for the English gentry in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. He was particularly noted for his 'Red Books'. These were produced for each individual client and were made up from a manuscript description of his proposed improvements bound with Repton's own watercolour drawings of the grounds, with his proposed alterations displayed on an overlay. Repton's landscapes displayed his preference for a gradual transition between house and grounds by means of terraces, balustrades and steps.
Textually this is one of Repton's most valuable works, for two main reasons: it contains long quotations from some very important Red Books which are now lost (those for Corsham, Bulstrode, Shardeloes, and West Wycombe), and it also contains Repton's major contribution to the evaluation of 'Capability' Brown. Although critical of some minor details the general tone of these passages, it is full of praise for the memory of the great gardener, and an able defence against the criticisms voiced by the theoreticians, Payne Knight and Uvedale Price
Abbey Scenery 390; Hardie p.128l; Prideaux p.349; C. Thomson Bobin II,708; Tooley 399.