Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 48.djvu/35

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Repton
Repton
29

ance of letters. This attempt at improving his income was also attended by failure, and, being now driven to a fresh expedient for providing the means of living for his large family, he finally determined upon becoming a professional ‘landscape-gardener.’ Lancelot Brown (1715–1783) [q. v.] was at first his guide, and he defended Brown's views against the criticisms of Payne Knight and Uvedale Price [q. v.], but Repton's opinions in the course of years were considerably modified. He gradually discarded the formalism of Brown, and adopted a more natural and varied style of ornamentation, which was described as combining ‘artistical knowledge … with good taste and good sense.’ His first great work in landscape was carried out about 1790 at Cobham in Kent, and he was afterwards employed by the chief noblemen of the day. He laid out Russell Square in Bloomsbury, London, and altered Kensington Gardens. While engaged on these works he made the acquaintance of many distinguished persons, including Burke, Wilberforce, and Pitt. On returning with his daughters from a ball on 29 Jan. 1811 he sustained, through an accident, an injury to his spine which incapacitated him from further work. He died at Hare Street on 24 March 1818; he was buried near the porch on the south side of Aylsham church, ‘in a small enclosure planted like a garden,’ under a plain tomb, with some lines of his own upon it (Notes and Queries, 7th ser. vi. 204). His widow was afterwards buried with him. They had sixteen children, seven of whom attained to mature years, and five were living at the date of his death. Two of the sons are noticed below.

Repton's works were: 1. ‘Hundreds of North and South Erpingham,’ a part of the ‘History of Norfolk,’ 1781, vol. iii. It also contained engravings of many of his drawings. 2. ‘Variety, a Collection of Essays’ [anon. By Repton and a few friends], 1788. 3. ‘The Bee: a Critique on Paintings at Somerset House,’ 1788. 4. ‘The Bee; or a Companion to the Shakespeare Gallery,’ 1789. 5. ‘Letter to Uvedale Price,’ 1794. 6. ‘Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening,’ 1794. This volume contained details, with numerous illustrations, of the different gardens and plantations which he had formed. He defends himself in chap. vii. and in an appendix from the criticisms of Knight and Price, and reprints his ‘Letter to Uvedale Price.’ Only 250 copies were printed, and the work has fetched more than four times the original price. 7. ‘Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening,’ 1803. 8. ‘Odd Whims and Miscellanies,’ 1804, 2 vols. They were dedicated to Windham. Some of the essays in ‘Variety’ were reprinted in this collection, and in the second volume is a comedy of ‘Odd Whims,’ which was played at Ipswich. 9. ‘An Inquiry into the Changes of Taste in Landscape Gardening, with some Observations on its Theory and Practice,’ 1806; it also included his letter to Price. 10. ‘Designs for the Pavilion at Brighton,’ 1808. He was assisted in this by his sons, John Adey and George Stanley Repton. The plans were approved by the Prince of Wales, but, through want of funds, were not carried out. 11. ‘On the Introduction of Indian Architecture and Gardening,’ 1808. 12. ‘Fragments on Landscape Gardening, with some Remarks on Grecian and Gothic Architecture,’ 1816. In this work his son, J. A. Repton, gave him assistance. Repton contributed to the ‘Transactions of the Linnean Society,’ xi. 27, a paper ‘On the supposed Effect of Ivy upon Trees.’

The appendix to John Claudius Loudon's ‘Treatise on Country Residences,’ 1806, contained some severe criticisms of Repton's designs and opinions; but in 1840 Loudon edited ‘The Landscape Gardening and Landscape Architecture of the late Humphry Repton,’ in which were reprinted Nos. 6, 7, 9, 10 and 12 of his works. It was illustrated by upwards of 250 engravings, and to it was prefixed a biographical notice by a member of the family. An exposition of his principles is in E. Petzold's ‘Landschaftsgärtnerei,’ issued at Leipzig in 1862. His manuscript collections included two volumes on his own career.

Repton's portrait was painted by S. Shelley, and engraved by W. Holl, 1803, and H. B. Hall, 1840. Another print of the same picture was engraved by Cooke, and appears in ‘Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk Characters’ (1820, p. 57).

His eldest son, John Adey Repton (1775–1860), architect, born at Norwich on 29 March 1775, was educated at Aylsham grammar school and in a Norwich architect's office. From 1796 to 1800 he was assistant to John Nash [q. v.] of Carlton House, the great London architect, and he then joined his father at Hare Street, preparing architectural designs as adjuncts to landscape-gardening. In 1822 he went abroad, and was consulted professionally at Utrecht and at Frankfort-on-the-Oder. Subsequently he restored the Earl De la Warr's seat of Buckhurst, near Tunbridge Wells. Before 1835, when he sent in designs for the new houses of parliament, he had retired to Springfield, near Chelmsford; he gave his services as architect of Springfield church in 1843. He