Repton Descendents See Their Ancestor’s Designs Realised

Our annual study day on the life and work of Humphry Repton took place on the 20th November, and we were honoured this year to find three descendents of the landscape gardener himself in attendance.

Joanna, Carol and Angela, cousins who journeyed to Woburn from Scotland, London and France respectively, are great great great great great granddaughters of Humphry Repton. Inspired to further research their family history, the three women attended the study day as a starting point on their journey to learn more.

Humphry Repton was commissioned by the 6th Duke of Bedford in 1802 to create a new vision for Woburn Abbey’s grounds and gardens. He saw himself uniting the disciplines of science, art and horticulture in this new profession of landscape gardening, and collated a series of drawings, paintings and plans in his ‘Red Book’ of designs, still held at Woburn Abbey today. Only some of these projects were completed during his lifetime, but our recent and ongoing renovation project is realising many features for you to enjoy in the 21st Century.

“It was a great privilege to be here” Said Joanna, from Dumfries, who booked their places after spotting the study day flyer on a previous visit in the summer. “I’m a jewellery designer, and feel I work in a similar way with my vision and attention to detail. I feel an affinity with him.”

For Angela, who made the journey across the channel from Paris, the day allowed her to make new discoveries about her ancestor, “I didn’t realise he was such a talented artist”.

Carol, based in Muswell Hill, felt that the talks during the day brought Humphry Repton to life. “I’m interested in the fact he considered himself an artist but still worked amongst the labourers. It’s great that his designs are being opened up and preserved for future generations at Woburn Abbey Gardens.”

To see Repton’s designs for yourself and explore the exhibition on his life and work, the Gardens are open from 10am to 4pm on Friday, Saturday and Sundays throughout the winter and then daily from the 11th April 2014. The next Humphry Repton Study Day will be held on the 16th October 2014.

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Or see the gardens in a whole new light at the festive Luminaries Woburnensis on Saturday 7th December from 6pm – 10pm. Explore the gardens illuminated after dark.

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