Pioneering gardener’s work celebrated in new exhibition

Estate gardens manager Martin Towsey with Woburns Red Book
Estate gardens manager Martin Towsey with Woburns Red Book

A new exhibition at Woburn Abbey is celebrating the work of the first person to describe himself as a ‘landscape gardener’.

Humphry Repton regarded himself as the rightful successor to Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Repton produced more than 400 designs and schemes for gardens great and small, but of these, he stated, “none were more fully realised than at Woburn Abbey”.

He published his theories in two influential books, Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1803), and Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1816). In these, he promotes his style and refers to his important work for the Duke of Bedford.

Open to the public until October 28, the new exhibition explores the relationship between Repton and one of his greatest clients. On public display for visitors to see for the first time is his most elaborate and comprehensive ‘Red Book’, his famous presentation document of proposed designs. His Red Book for Woburn was commissioned in 1804 and illustrates his innovative plans for the Pleasure Grounds and Park, many of which were subsequently realised by the 6th Duke of Bedford.

Visit www.woburnabbey.co.uk/Repton for more.