Woburn Abbey Gardens are home to the greatest number of designs by landscape gardener, Humphry Repton, in the UK and this weekend they can be enjoyed in a festive atmosphere.
The abbey’s annual study day on his life and work took place in November, and their gardens team were honoured this year to find three descendents of Humphry Repton himself in attendance.
Joanna, Carol and Angela, cousins who journeyed to Woburn from Scotland, London and France respectively, are great great great great great granddaughters of Humphry Repton. Inspired to further research their family history, the three women attended the study day to learn more.
Humphry Repton was commissioned by the 6th Duke of Bedford in 1802 to create a new vision for the grounds and gardens at Woburn Abbey.
He saw himself uniting the disciplines of science, art and horticulture in this new profession of landscape gardening, and collated a series of drawings, paintings and plans in his ‘Red Book’ of designs.
Only some of these projects were completed during his lifetime, but the recent and ongoing renovation project at Woburn Abbey Gardens is realising many features to be enjoyed by visitors in the 21st Century.
“It was a great privilege to be here,” Said Joanna, from Dumfries, who organised their places after spotting the study day flyer on a previous visit to Woburn Abbey Gardens in the summer.
“I’m a jewellery designer, and feel I work in a similar way with my vision and attention to detail. I feel an affinity with him.”
For Angela, who made the journey from Paris, the day allowed her to make new discoveries about her ancestor, “I didn’t realise he was such a talented artist”.
Carol, based in Muswell Hill, felt that the talks during the day brought Humphry Repton to life.
She said: “I’m interested in the fact he considered himself an artist but still worked amongst the labourers. It’s great that his designs are being opened up and preserved for future generations at Woburn Abbey Gardens.”
To see Repton’s designs for yourself and explore the exhibition on his life and work, Woburn Abbey Gardens are open from 10am to 4pm on Friday, Saturday and Sundays throughout the winter and then daily from the April 11, 2014.
You can also see the gardens in a whole new light at the festive Luminaries Woburnensis on Saturday, December 7 from 6pm – 10pm.
The next Humphry Repton Study Day will be held on the 16th October 2014.