Repton Introduces Formal Look into the Picturesque

[left: Repton’s Red Book in which he presented his before and after landscape design for a client.] 

You might think that the English garden has a definable style. Not really.

At one time it was natural, another more formal, and then a combination.

English landscape designer Humphry Repton (1752-1818) introduced formal features into the picturesque style of garden design.  According to the fabulous anthology on the English garden Genius of the Place, Repton used “older elements of design like terraces, raised flowerbeds, even geometrical planning, and the conservatory”, in order to make the garden more usable.

Repton comes at a transition point for the picturesque style, which had depended on the long lawn, clumps of trees, and the use of water to create  a landscape that resembled  a landscape painting.

John Dixon Hunt and Peter Willis, the editors of Genius, characterize Repton as anticipating”  the ‘gardenesque’ style of John Claudius Loudon and William Robinson.”

Into the early 19th century Loudon became the voice for English garden style.  He  published many books on horticulture and an important garden magazine.

Loudon inspired American garden designer Andrew Jackson Downing, as well as Missouri horticulturalist Henry Shaw (1880-1889), who created what is now the Missouri Botanical Garden.

English gardening over the two hundred years of 1620 to 1820 saw many influences, both from within and outside the country.  The style evolved, but the connection with others, like poets and painters, is clearly there.

What have been some of the influences on your garden?

 

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