Ref NoDM1031
Alt Ref NoDM1047, DM1054
TitleHumphry Repton's Red Book for Leigh Court, Abbots Leigh; facsimiles of other Red Books
DescriptionThe Red Book of Leigh Court, Abbots Leigh, near Bristol, by Humphry Repton, 1814. 11 pages, illustrated with watercolour drawings.

Leigh Court was owned by the Bristol banker Philip John Miles.

Leigh Court and its Red Book are briefly discussed in Mowl and Mako, 'Historic Gardens of Somerset' (Redcliffe Press, 2010), pp. 143-146.

Humphry Repton was born in Bury St. Edmunds in 1752, son of John and Martha Repton. He was educated in Bury and Norwich, before being sent, in 1764, to Workum to learn Dutch, then to Amsterdam and Rotterdam, where he remained until he was 16. After returning to Norwich he learned his trade in silks and calicoes. In May 1773, he married Mary Clarke and set up business as a general merchant. His business failed and he went to Sustead, Norfolk, where his sister lived. He spent his time there as a country gentleman, studying gardening and botany at the urging of friends. After accompanying the Chief Secretary of the Lord Lieutenant around Ireland in 1783, he moved into a cottage, now called Repton Cottage, in Romford, Essex. After returning to England he embarked on a scheme to improve the conveyance of mail with John Palmer, but this also failed, forcing Repton to pursue new ventures to increase his income. In 1778, Repton declared that he would become a 'Landscape-gardener'. During his years at such work, he developed from the formal style of Lancelot Brown to a more natural and varied style, combining 'artistical knowledge with good style and good taste'. After his work at Cobham, Kent, in 1790, he was employed by many noblemen to work on their estates. In 1811, while returning from a ball, Repton suffered an accident which damaged his spine, rendering him incapable of further work. He died in 1818, and was buried at Aylsham Church.

The Red Book of Leigh Court, was purchased with assistance of the Victoria and Albert Museum Fund, and the National Art Collections Fund.
Related MaterialFacsimile copies of Repton's Red Books:

DM 1054 Photographs and slides of the Red Book for Abbots Leigh
DM 1655 Facsimile of the Red Book for Purley

Printed works by Repton:

'Observations on the theory and practice of landscape gardening...', Humphry Repton, 1805. Special Collections, Oversize, SB 471 REP
'Fragments on the theory and practice of landscape gardening...', Humphry Repton, 1816. Special Collections, Oversize, SB 471 REP
'An essay on the picturesque, as compared with the sublime and the beautiful; and, on the use of studying pictures, for the purpose of improving real landscape', Uvedale Price. 1794. Featuring Price's letter to Humphry Repton, and Repton's reply. Special Collections, SB 469.5.P4 PR1
'An enquiry into the changes of taste in landscape gardening, to which are added some observations on its theory and practice, including a defence of the art', Humphry Repton. 1806. Special Collections, SB 471 REP

DM180 Letters from Repton to the Rev. Norton Nicholls, 1788-1796; letter from Repton to an unidentified correspondent, 1800; and notes by Repton on 'some general Maxims of taste', with four sketches, 1814.

DM1047 Article about Repton by Kedurn Laurie, entitled 'New Discoveries', September 1983.
Extent1 volume



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