Beds, Herts & Bucks

Landscape gardener Humphry Repton celebrated at Woburn

Folly at Woburn Abbey Image copyright Woburn Abbey & Gardens
Image caption The gardens at Woburn Abbey were recently restored over 14 years, including the folly grotto

An exhibition to celebrate the person who invented the job title "landscape gardener" is to open.

The event, at Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, marks the bicentenary of the death of gardener Humphry Repton.

He produced more than 400 designs and schemes for gardens, including 28 acres in the ground of the stately home for the 6th Duke of Bedford in 1804.

Mr Repton (1752-1818) was seen as a "successor" to compatriot, Lancelot "Capability" Brown, said organisers.

Capability Brown (1716-1783) is the country's most famous landscape gardener, although the term was never applied to him in his lifetime.

Image copyright Woburn Abbey & Gardens
Image caption The Red Book for Woburn was commissioned in 1804 and includes illustrations of his plans for the Pleasure Grounds and Park

Mr Repton's Red Book, which features documents of his proposed designs of the grounds, will be on display.

The book was discovered in the library several years ago by the current Duchess of Bedford. It has been used as inspiration for the renovation of the gardens, which have been taking place over the last 14 years.

Matthew Hirst, curator of the Woburn Abbey Collection, said: "Never before has the Red Book for Woburn been on public display, nor has there been an opportunity to show it alongside his other designs for the Duke of Bedford.

"This exhibition will give a fantastic insight into one of the nation's greatest gardening influences" Mr Hirst said.

Image copyright Woburn Abbey & Gardens
Image caption Conne House is a viewing platform to watch wild animals from and in 2013 was restored using the original pictures and descriptions by Humphry Repton

Martin Towsey, estate gardens manager said the exhibition, called Humphry Repton: Art & Nature for the Duke of Bedford, "represents the hard work by the Woburn Abbey Gardens team to restore the gardens to their former glory".

A spokesman for Woburn Abbey said he was "recognised as the first person to invent and use the title landscape gardener".

Image copyright Woburn Abbey & Gardens
Image caption The original Aviary was constructed in 1805, but was reconstructed in 2011

Television gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh said the exhibition, which runs until October, celebrates the work of a man whose "prime object was to beautify the land surrounding a fine country house and to help house and garden work in harmony.

"Repton and his Red Books well deserve their place in the history of British landscape gardening," he added.

Image copyright Woburn Abbey & Gardens
Image caption Since 2004 the present Duke and Duchess of Bedford have been restoring many of Repton's features including the Doric Temple

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