REPTON, Humphry. ~ Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening, collected from Designs and Observations now in the Possession of the Different Noblemen and Gentlemen, for whose use they were originally made. The whole tending to establish fixed principles in the art of laying out ground.
One of only 250 copies. 16 aquatint plates, comprising 10 coloured aquatint plates with moveable overslips (four folding) and 6 uncoloured or touched up tinted plates, 4 with moveable overslips, all overslips with their original tabs. Half-title and full title page. Oblong folio., contemporary blue straight-grain morocco with gilt roll tool and fillets as a border on both sides, greek key gilt border on turn-ins, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, silk marker. Some very expert repair to spine (which was cleverly replaced to style by James and Stuart Brockman about 20 years ago) and edges of binding, a little shelf wear to bottom edge and some slight rubbing to sides. A very handsome copy.
Humphry Repton’s first book based primarily on his Red Book of Welbeck, a very prestigious commission from the Duke of Portland, but incorporating examples of his work on other estates to give a rounded presentation of his theories on the practice of what he called ‘landscape gardening’.
He outlined the new concept in the introduction (p. xiii) - “I have adopted the term Landscape Gardening as most proper, because the art can only be advanced and perfected by the united powers of the landscape painter and the practical gardener. The former must conceive a plan, which the latter may be able to execute; for though a painter may represent a beautiful landscape on his canvas, and even surpass nature by the combination of her choicest materials, yet the luxuriant imagination of the painter must be subjected to the gardener’s practical logic in planting, digging and moving earth”.
Repton put together his ‘Red Books’ when asked to design a garden for a client - he completed at least 300. These books contained plans and watercolour sketches showing a landscape or garden in its original and in its proposed new state using ‘flaps’ or ‘overslips’ which showed the original when in place and revealing the proposed improvement when the flap was opened.