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Humphry Repton: Domesticity and Design

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Publication details

JournalGarden History
DateAccepted/In press - 11 Jan 2019
DatePublished (current) - 11 Feb 2019
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)24-38
Original languageEnglish


Humphry Repton developed a set of landscape principles over the course of his career,which he set out in his key publications, and that shaped ideas about designed landscape throughout the nineteenth century. These have usually been studied within the context of his position between the Brownian era of the late eighteenth century and that of the Picturesque of the early nineteenth. This paper, however, explores two of his late commissions, at Harewood House, Yorkshire, and Sheringham, Norfolk, through the lens of his formative years spent in the Netherlands. It suggests that although little is known of his time on the continent, it exposed him to a highly cultured society among one the wealthiest merchant families: the Hopes of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. It then contrasts Repton’s experience at Harewood with that at Sheringham and argues that the different approaches to the two landscapes, and his own reaction to them, were shaped by his social experiences, including in the Netherlands as a young man and with his own family. Domesticity becomes a key feature of his preferred landscape and architectural designs, and Repton locates this in smaller estates and houses, rather than the palaces of the nobility.

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    Research areas

  • Humphry Repton, landscape history, Parks and gardens, domesticity, architecture


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