Humphry Repton

Landscape Gardening and the Geography of Georgian England

Stephen Daniels

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The leading landscape gardener of later Georgian England, Humphry Repton (1752–1818), was innovative and prolific, undertaking more than four hundred commissions during his thirty-year career. Repton worked for a wide variety of clients, notably the dukes of Portland and Bedford, and on many kinds of sites throughout England. He also promoted his profession in extensive writings about the theory and practice of landscape gardening. This book examines Repton’s career and work in the context of the changing human geography of his time. Fully illustrated with many previously unpublished pictures, the book charts Repton’s vision of England, how his style changed and persisted over time and from place to place, how he influenced his profession, and how he fashioned a social identity for himself.

Stephen Daniels frames Repton’s life and work in terms of five domains: the road, the county, the picturesque landscape, the aristocratic estate, and the urban periphery. Focusing on the way these domains shaped Repton’s career and how he in turn attempted to shape them, Daniels examines in depth more than twenty representative commissions that delineate Repton’s social and spatial theory of landscape. The author casts new light not only on the work of Humphry Repton but also on the role of landscape itself in English culture and society.

Stephen Daniels is professor of cultural geography at the University of Nottingham.

"As well as providing detailed 'readings' of Repton's key commissions, Daniels' careful and scholarly study usefully illuminates the intermixing of landscape gardening and politics in eighteenth-century England. It intelligently reminds us—if we need reminding—that landscape gardening in the eighteenth century was about more than grass and trees."—Patrick Taylor-Martin, Literary Review

"With more than 400 commissions, this 18th-century landscape gardener reshaped the Georgian countryside. As this beautiful volume makes clear, Repton transformed his field, too."—House and Garden

"This eye-opening book is a timely reminder of how much, in reality, the beauty of the landscape owes to the foresight of the private landowner and his landscape gardeners."—Hugh Massingberd, Daily Telegraph

"This stimulating and beautifully produced study should occupy a central place in the interdisciplinary investigation which has developed over the past two decades in the eighteenth century's relationship to landscape and nature. . . . Brilliantly displays the complex web of topography, economics, aesthetics and politics that make up the cultural geography of Georgian England. The result is a 'moving scene' of colour, depth and richness, one that Repton himself would have appreciated."—Jenny Uglow, Times Literary Supplement

"The best book ever written on his great subject. . . . . Daniels’ beautifully illustrated book vividly conveys Repton’s character—his personal charm, his extraordinary energy and his profound understanding of what make landscape beautiful."—Patrick Taylor, Sunday Telegraph

"Stephen Daniel’s academic account is enjoyably written and inventively illustrated, reflecting on the role of landscape in English culture and society as a whole."—World of Interiors

"Very fine, illuminating (especially on the role of landscape-design in English culture and society), and stimulating (notably in the charting of Repton’s vision of England as it might have been). It is a pleasure to be able to salute a felicitous work of painstaking scholarship and lightly-worn erudition."—James Stevens Curl, Building Design

"Daniels’ book holds an important place in the literature of landscape architectural history. He successfully interweaves a thorough exploration of Repton’s work and its influence with an examination of the function of landscape design in 18th-century English society. . . . Generously illustrated with exceptional color reproductions of Repton’s watercolors, contemporary engravings and paintings, and site plans. . . . All levels."—Choice

"The reader cannot fail to leave the book without a thorough understanding of concepts and ideals that lay behind cultural and political changes of the period."—Carol Richardson, University of Edinburgh, Art Book

"This is a definitive work that will not be superseded or replaced for many years. Readers will marvel at the erudition, be pleased and thankful for the breadth of view."—E.C.R. Fawcett, Garden History

"Daniels has become known as the foremost scholar of Repton. His 1999 book is an outstanding achievement, laying out the great landscape designer’s career thematically, documenting and unraveling the complex relationships between Repton’s philosophical views, his design practice, and the rapidly changing social, political, and economic culture in which Repton worked."—Linda Cabe Halpern, Albion

"A most attractive, authoritative and stimulating book which contains much of interest to the geographer and landscape historian, and which has been so pleasingly and imaginatively produced, to its usual high standards, by Yale University Press."—Robin A Butlin, Human Geography

ISBN: 9780300079647
Publication Date: August 11, 1999
Publishing Partner: Published for the Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art
328 pages, 8 1/2 x 10 1/2
139 b/w + 153 color illus.