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REPTON, Humphry.
Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening. Including some remarks on Grecian and Gothic Architecture, collected from various manuscripts, in the possession of the different Noblemen and Gentlemen
London: J. Taylor, 1803.
Quarto (13 9/16 x 10 7/8 inches). Stipple engraved portrait of the author by W. Holl after S. Shelley, 27 engraved or aquatint plates (including 12 hand-coloured, 3 tinted, 12 uncoloured; 12 with overslips, 1 folding, 1 double-page), numerous engraved, wood-engraved or aquatint vignettes and illustrations, 2 with overslips. (Small neat repairs to folding plate). Contemporary light brown calf gilt by Charles Hering (with his ticket on the front free endpaper), covers with gilt-ruled and blind-tooled border with centrally-placed gilt armorial of the arms of the Leverson-Gower family, surmounted by a Marquesses coronet, with the arms and coronet of an Earl in pretence, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, marbled edges (neatly re-backed to style). Provenance: Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Marquis of Stafford (1721-1803, binding); Louise Ward Watkins (1890-1974, bookplate). FIRST EDITION of the classic work on landscape gardening in which Repton lays out and illustrates what he considered to be the fixed principles which should be adhered to in any large-scale scheme. Humphry Repton was the main successor to Lancelot 'Capability' Brown as an improver of grounds for the English gentry in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. He was particularly noted for his 'Red Books'. These were produced for each individual client and were made up from a manuscript description of his proposed improvements bound with Repton's own watercolour drawings of the grounds, with his proposed alterations displayed on an overlay. Repton's landscapes displayed his preference for a gradual transition between house and grounds by means of terraces, balustrades and steps. Textually this is one of Repton's most valuable works, for two main reasons: it contains long quotations from some very important Red Books which are now lost (those for Corsham, Bulstrode, Shardeloes, and West Wycombe), and it also contains Repton's major contribution to the evaluation of 'Capability' Brown. Although critical of some minor details the general tone of these passages is full of praise for the memory of the great gardener, and an able defence against the criticisms voiced by the theoreticians, Payne Knight and Uvedale Price.

Coloured plates in order:

1. View from the Fort, near Bristol.
2. Wentworth Yorkshire.
3. West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.
4. Water at Wentworth, Yorkshire.
5. View from the House at Shardeloes.
6. Flower Garden, Valley - Field.
7. Pavilion & Green House for a Gothic Mansion.
8. Burley, Rutlandshire.
9. A Cottage altered in Lancashire.
10. Port Elliot St Germains.
11. Map of Bayham.
12. General view of Bayham.
Abbey Scenery 390; Tooley 399; Bobins II 708.
Hand coloured plates
Architecture/Mansions, British Isles
Stock ID