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These images are from Fragments on the theory and practice of landscape gardening by Humphry Repton (London, 1816). Repton was England’s first professional landscape gardener, a term he coined himself. Repton and other gardeners of this period sought to shape the landscape without the outward appearance of control, creating “natural” scenery too perfect to exist in nature.
Repton’s main employment was as a design consultant for wealthy landowners throughout the English countryside, and he used his artistic and writing skills to further his career. When he sketched plans for new landscapes, Repton devised a way to make the illustrations interact with his clients by incorporating overlays which, when closed, show the current state of the property. The client could lift the flaps to see how his or her estate would look after Repton’s proposed modifications.
Although Repton took on hundreds of commissions during his thirty-year career, his writings and watercolors may be his most enduring achievements. His illustrations, along with his written commentary and explanations of his design principles, were collected and published as Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1803) and Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1816).
MERLIN catalog record
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