REPTON, Humphry (1752-1818) & John Adey REPTON (1775-1860)
Fragments 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, for whose use they were originally written; the whole tending to establish fixed principles in the respective arts. By H. Repton, Esq. assisted by his son, J. Adey Repton
London: Printed by T. Bensley and Son for J. Taylor, 1816. Large quarto. (13 3/8 x 11 inches). xii, 238 pp., (2). 42 aquatint plates (22 hand-coloured, including ten with overslips and three double-page, 13 uncoloured, including three with overslips, 7 tinted, including one with an overslip), 1 wood-engraved and letterpress plan, 9 aquatint head- and tail-piece vignettes (including two with overslips), and numerous wood-engraved illustrations. Half-title. Plate list (including errata) at end.
Contemporary diced russia boards with gilt border, spine in six compartments, gilt center tool, lettered gilt in second and fifth comparments, marbled edges.
The first edition of Repton's final great work on landscape gardening.
In both the present work and his earlier Observations. (London: 1803), Humphrey Repton stated his view that the landscape architect should be guided by the single guiding principle that his work should produce a 'pleasing combination of Art and Nature adapted to the use of Man' (viii). Fragments focuses on a number of aristocratic landscapes: Cobham, Woburn, Endsleigh, Ashridge, Longleat, and other projects such as Ealing Park and White Lodge, which took in views of royal parks. They commemorate a historically minded, public spirited nobility. Other chapters focus on commissions for a range of clients, from Norfolk squires to Essex merchants; they establish a polite consensus around highly detailed plans for gardens. The final Fragment on Hare Street incorporates the outlook of 'venerable noblemen' such as the Duke of Portland and Viscount Torrington in the view from Repton's own garden. Repton notes that Fragments is drawn from 'more than four hundred Reports in MS,' i.e his Red Books. This fact alone makes the present work particularly valuable, as most of the Red Books are no longer extant. Interestingly, Repton gives the modern reader the rare gift of explicitly outlining his colouring process in the book itself. In Fragment Twelve, titled 'Concerning Colours,' Repton discusses colour theory and includes detailed instructions for the artisans who colored the aquatints in Fragments by hand. In this chapter he illustrates his colour theory with a fascinating plate that includes a diagram explaining the 'Harmony of Colours' as well as instructions for colouring a landscape scene 'before and after sun-rise; that is, before and after the natural process of colouring takes place.' Humphry Repton was the main successor to Lancelot 'Capability' Brown as an improver of grounds for the English gentry in the late 18th and early 19th century. Repton's landscapes displayed his preference for a gradual transition between house and grounds by means of terraces, balustrades and steps. He was particularly noted for the Red Books, which were produced for individual clients and were made up from manuscript descriptions bound with Repton's own watercolour drawings, with his proposed alterations displayed on an overlay. The present volume reproduces these otherwise unobtainable works of English landscape gardening.
Abbey Scenery 391; Martin Hardie, p. 129; Prideaux, p. 349; Tooley 398.