Humphry Repton et la mutation du jardin anglais au début du XIXe siècle by Jacques CARRE – Château de Bénouville

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Humphry Repton et la mutation du jardin anglais au début du XIXe siècle by Jacques CARRE – Château de Bénouville

Humphry Repton and the mutation of the English landscaped garden in the early 19th century

Humphry Repton (1752-1818) was the heir to an already long-standing tradition of English landscaped gardens. Striving to succeed Lancelot Brown, the style’s most famous representative, Repton distinguished himself through his will to satisfy new demands from an increasingly varied and urban clientele. Good taste, as he conceived it, was no longer a simple question of aesthetics, but also, and especially, of ‘convenience’. This term equally applied to the new bourgeois way of life as to the due attention to be paid to the walker’s comfort and advantage. The classical recipe of the landscaped garden in the form of an opaque enclosure comprised of trees, arrangements including artificial ponds and extensive lawned areas was criticised by Repton, who preferred a return to regular forms around properties, introducing terraces and gravelled paths, together with flower beds. As such, we can consider him to be the precursor of the Victorian garden.

Jacques Carré

Jacques Carré is professor emeritus in British studies at the Sorbonne. He previously taught at the Universities of Besançon and Clermont-Ferrand. He is specialised in 18th-19th century British art and architecture, a theme on which he has published several works. His long-standing interest in English gardens led him, firstly, to study the emergence of the landscaped garden, circa 1730, thanks to William Kent, a member of Lord Burlington’s Palladian circle. The 18th century development of London squares, then the creation of public gardens in many English towns, are also among his study themes. His last book offers an insight into London’s architectural history (Citadelles & Mazenod, 2018). This year, Jacques Carré will also be publishing a translation of a classic work on the history of landscaped gardens by Humphrey Repton (1806): Enquête sur les fluctuations du goût dans le jardin paysager (An enquiry into the changes of taste in landscape gardening).