Repton and Hortuculture Conference

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20 and 21 September 2018
Dorothy Fox Education Centre at the Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Celebrating the bicentenary of Humphry Repton

When Humphry Repton (1752-1818) introduced the term ’landscape gardening’ he saw this as a new profession where a designer of a landscape was no longer involved with the practical aspects of implementing a scheme. Instead he produced written and illustrated volumes that were presented as Red Books, bound in red maroc, containing proposals that were left to be implemented by their owners; some gardens were laid out years after they had been designed.

This meant that he would have been divorced from practical horticulture, yet he was interested in botany and gardening as a leisure activity and he lived in interesting times of significant change. He had known Capability Brown’s parks of classical austerity, which were criticised by the next generation, and he ended up in the centre of the Picturesque debate that saw him challenged on the form and maintenance of his designs. He also saw the start of an influx of exotic plants after the ending of the Continental Blockage in 1814.

These developments evoked responses from Repton which affected the appearance of his gardens and ultimately also general horticultural practice. Yet with the emphasis in research and writing having been on his design practices and influences, the horticultural aspects have been largely overlooked and that will be addressed by this conference.

This conference explores the contribution of horticulture to Reptonian parks and gardens, and raises a number of questions:

  • What was the contribution of horticulture to the gardens designed by Repton;
  • what was the socio-economic context and how did this affect change?
  • What horticultural trends can be evidenced from his designs?
  • How were his gardens designed, implemented and maintained; did this differ from previous generations?

The conference is organised by the Friends of the Botanical Gardens and the Department of Landscape of the University of Sheffield.




Thursday 20 September 2018

9:30 -17:00

Talks include:

‘Humphry Repton, Landscape Gardener, 1752-1818’
Peter H. Goodchild, Director of the GARLAND Trust (The Garden and Landscape
Heritage Trust)

‘The Art of Concealment and the Concealment of Art’
Camilla Beresford, Consultant Landscape Architect and Historian

‘Humphry Repton at Woburn, Bedfordshire: Before and After the Red Book’
Professor Mark Laird, University of Toronto (a virtual lecture)

‘Horticulture as Recreation for the Regency Lady’
Dr. Kate Felus, Historic Landscape Consultant and Author

‘Humphry Repton and the Development of the Flower Garden’
Mick Thompson, Gardens Manager, Ashridge

‘Repton’s use of colour in his planting schemes, landscapes and Red Books’
Jon Finch, Reader in archaeology, University of York

‘Reptonian influences on the late Regency planting at St James’ Park’
Dr Jan Woudstra, Reader in landscape history and theory, Department of
Landscape, University of Sheffield

‘Historic England Guidance: Late Georgian Hardy Plant List (1780-1820)’
Dr Sarah Rutherford, Historic Garden Consultant

‘Two Centuries of Repton’s Reputation’
Brent Elliott, formerly Librarian then Historian, Royal Horticultural Society

‘Introducing Wentworth Woodhouse’
Dr Patrick Eyres and Karen Lynch, authors of On the Spot: the Yorkshire Red Books
of Humphry Repton, landscape gardener

Download the full programme





The conference takes place in the Dorothy Fox Education Centre at the Sheffield Botanical Gardens.

Sheffield Botanical Gardens
Clarkehouse Road
S10 2LN

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Student £40
Standard £115
Members of FOB, The Garden Trusts and The Country Garden Trust £75
Early Bird £95

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