Humphry Repton was an Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century garden designer and part of the Landscape Movement
When and Where was he born?
21st April 1752, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England.
Humphry Repton was the son of John Repton, a prosperous collector of Excise Duties and Martha (née Fitch) from Suffolk.
Bury St. Edmunds Grammar School and Norwich Grammar School then a school in Wokum in the Netherlands.
Chronology/Biography of Humphry Repton:
1762: His father sets up a transport business in Norwich.
1764: Humphry Repton was sent to the Netherlands to learn Dutch and prepare for a career as a merchant to follow in his father’s footsteps. Here he met a rich family who introduced him to drawing and gardening. On his return to Norwich he was apprenticed to a textile merchant.
1773: Set up in business on his own as a textile merchant.
1778: Repton’s parents died and left him some money. He was not very successful at business and decided to buy a small country estate at Sustead, near Aylsham in Norfolk. At this time he tried being a journalist, a dramatist, an artist, a political agent, and as a confidential secretary to his neighbour William Windham of Felbrigg Hall when Windham became Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
1783: Death of Lancelot Capability Brown.
1788: Repton moved to a small cottage at Hare Street near Romford in Essex. (Now rebuilt as a Branch of Lloyds TSB Bank) By now he had four children and no income and decided to use his sketching skills to become a “landscape gardener” (a term he created himself). His first paid commission was Catton Park in Norwich. He would create his famous “red Books” for clients which had before and after sketchers of the design and his own watercolours . They would then be bound up in red leather as a record for the client.
1790: Humphry Repton began working with the architect John Nash.
1794: Richard Payne Knight and Uvedale Price both published vicious attacks on him calling him the the “meagre genius of the bare and bald” They criticised his serpentine curves as bland and unnatural. He Championed Brown but Repton would also re-introduce formal terraces, trellis work, balustrades, and flower gardens.
1800: Falls out with Nash most likely over Nash’s refusal to credit the work of Repton’s architect son John Adey Repton.
1808: Humphry Repton designed Stoneleigh Abbey and introduced the “home lawn” which was to become a feature of gardens grand and small ever since.
1811: Repton suffered a carriage accident and subsequently he often needed a wheelchair to get around.
1788: “The Bee” (a Critique on Paintings at Somerset House).
1795: “Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening”
1803: “Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening”
1804: “Odd Whims and Miscellanies”
1806: “An Inquiry into the Changes of Taste in Landscape Gardening, with some Observations on its Theory and Practice”
1808: “Designs for the Pavilion at Brighton”, “On the Introduction of Indian Architecture and Gardening”
1816: “Fragments on Landscape Gardening, with some Remarks on Grecian and Gothic Architecture”
To Mary Clarke in May 1773 at St. Mary in Marsh Church, Norwich.
When and Where did he Die?
24th March 1818, London, England.
Age at Death:
Site of Grave:
Outside the porch at Aylsham Church, Norfolk.
Places of Interest:
Antony House. Torpoint.
Dyrham Park, Hinton.
Ashridge Gardens, Ashridge.
Sufton Court, Herefordshire.
Cobham Hall, Cobham.
Russell Square Gardens.
Catton Park, Old Catton, Norwich.
Sheringham Park, Sheringham Hall.
Royal Pavilion, Brighton.
Plas Newydd, Wrexham, Clwyd.