Humphrey Repton (Bury St Edmunds 1752 - Romford 1818)

A Scene in the Garden at Brandsbury, Willesden


inscribed 'A Scene in the garden at Brandsbury, seat of Lady Salisbury' on the original washline mount
watercolour
14.3 x 21.7 cm (5¾ x 8½ in)



Humphrey Repton began his career in landscape design in 1788 and went on to work on over 400 projects. Repton documented his plans in his Red Books (so-called due to their red morocco leather binding) in which he included watercolours of the landscape as it was, with a flap that folded down showing his proposed changes to the view. The book was used as a form of proposal or marketing of his skills. The present work differs from the scene in the Brandsbury Red Book (in Dumbarton Oaks Library) only by a reclining, not standing cow. It is the same image that appears in Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening (London, 1795, opp. pg.3). This image would have been the a variant design and the image appearing in the Red Book the modified version. The fact that these variants exist shed an interesting light on Reptons design process. Repton started work on the gardens at Brandsbury in 1789. The project was considered an illustrious one as the estate extended “two miles in length from the toll-gate of Kilburn turnpike, and is therefore one of the largest landed properties within so short a distance of London”.¹

The present work came from an album which also contained Humphrey Repton's business card.

We would like to thank Professor Stephen Daniels, author of Humphrey Repton: Landscape Gardening and the Geography of Georgian England (Yale, 1999) for his assistance in the preparation of this catalogue entry.

We would also like to thank Charles Hind for his assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.

¹ J. C. Loudon, The Landscape Gardening and Landscape Architecture of the Late Humphry Repton esq., (Longman & co., London, 1840), p.42.