24 October 2018 – 3 February 2019
This exhibition celebrates the landscape gardener Humphry Repton (1752-1818) and his rare and beautiful Red Books.
Marking the bicentenary of Repton's death, this exhibition shows how his career unfolded, bringing together 23 Red Books – so named by Repton due to the distinctive red leather bindings he favoured – and watercolour paintings, many of which have never been displayed before.
It's the largest number of Red Books reunited in one place in 25 years. Ingenious in design and each one unique, they were devised by Repton as a clever marketing tool. Clients would open the book to see Repton's delicate watercolours of their garden as it currently appeared, and would then lift a flap revealing Repton's new design for their garden as it could be.
As well as exploring the relationship between the interior and exterior, and between the garden and wider landscape, the exhibition also looks at Repton himself, at his comparatively late start in landscape design at the age of 36 and his use of a wheelchair in later life from which he continued to garden.