25 April 2018

Repton Study Day: ‘by Nature so Romantic’

Leigh Court near Bristol

A celebration of the work of Humphry Repton; the last great landscape designer of the 18th century and bellwether of the 19th century garden. March 2018 is the bicentenary of his death and his designs for Leigh Court crystallise the transition from the Picturesque to the Gardenesque.

Humphry Repton

Born in Bury St Edmunds in 1752, Repton was 36 before he declared he would become a 'Landscape-gardener'. By the closing years of his career Repton claimed to have been consulted on some 400 estates across the country. A body of work that led the changes in landscape style from the Brownian park to the Picturesque and on to the Gardenesque thereby making his famous illustrated and discursive design manuscripts – Repton’s ‘Red Books’ - a rich and valuable source for students of both landscape and garden history, and aesthetics.

The Red Book for Philip John Miles of Leigh Court (known then as Abbots Leigh) was produced in 1814 making it among Repton’s last. His landscape would complement Miles’ new Palladian house commissioned from the architect Thomas Hopper. Today Repton’s landscape is recognized as Grade II by Historic England.

The afternoon will provide the opportunity to explore part of Repton’s park, while Hopper’s fine Greek Revival interiors provide the backdrop to the morning lectures.

Tickets £60, including refreshments and buffet lunch.
Book using the form available here

Leigh Court, Abbots Leigh, Bristol BS8 3RA Map



Registration & refreshments


£60 to include tea or coffee on arrival, all lectures in the Tapestry Room, buffet lunch in the Salon and a guided tour of the landscape.


Welcome & Introductions


David Lambert:
Leigh Court: an introduction


Close to M5 J19 (Gordano Services) and SW of Bristol from where it can be accessed via the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Map & directions at www.leighcourt.co.uk/contact/


Stephen Daniels:
Revealing Repton: approaches to the art of landscape gardening




Michael Richardson:
Humphry Repton and the growth of the garden history collection in the University of Bristol


Use the form available here

All tickets payable in advance


Ben Lennon:
Paradise and Sugar: rediscovering a Repton- inspired landscape

This event is being advertised to the general public. This is expected to increase the demand for tickets




Choice of longer or shorter guided tour through part of Repton’s landscape

Around 16.00

Close of Study Day


David Lambert: former Conservation Officer for the Garden History Society. Currently a member of English Heritage Advisory Committee as well as the advisory committees for Historic Royal Palaces and the World Monuments Fund. A Trustee of the Gardens Trust, a member of its conservation committee and editor of their recent report on public parks, Uncertain Prospects: public parks in the new age of austerity. Other publications include Parks and Gardens of Avon (with Stewart Harding) and two volumes of Avon Gardens Trust's Historic Public Parks series on Bristol and Weston super Mare.

Stephen Daniels: Emeritus Professor of Cultural Geography at the University of Nottingham where he has worked since 1980. The author of a number of books and exhibition catalogues on the landscape arts including Humphry Repton, Landscape Gardening and the Geography of Georgian England, Art of the Garden, Paul Sandby: Picturing Britain, Fields of Vision and Landscapes of the National Trust. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2010.

Michael Richardson: Special Collections Librarian at the University of Bristol. Michael is custodian of the Red Book for Leigh Court and other original Repton documents.

Ben Lennon: While working for the Forestry Commission in the 1990s Ben led the restoration of the woodlands around Leigh Court and Paradise Bottom. His PhD from the University of Bristol looked at landscape change with particular reference to Savernake Forest and Tottenham Park in Wiltshire. Ben currently lives in north Scotland where he is a professional forester and continues to advise on historic designed landscapes.