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Humphry Repton’s Red Books have long been the subject of scholarly interest for their unique contribution to British landscape discourse around 1800. Lavishly illustrated with Repton’s own watercolours, the notorious Red Book manuscripts were used to suggest improvements to family estates all over England, Scotland and Wales.
Through detailed analysis of Repton’s working practices, André Rogger argues that the landscape gardener’s main artistic achievement is in the text-and-image concept of his Red Books, rather than in his grounds as finally executed. He presents the Red Books as artefacts in their own right, examining their creative potential as an entirely new genre of landscape appraisal.
Assembling a comprehensive and descriptive catalogue of 123 original volumes, Landscapes of Taste: The Art of Humphry Repton’s Red Books guides the reader through a fascinating part of the rich texture and legacy of Georgian landscape aesthetics.
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André Rogger is Lecturer in History of Art at the Academy of Art and Design, Lucerne (Switzerland).
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