18 June 2020

Perfectly secluded from the ‘busy hum of man’: Humphry Repton and the Blaise Castle landscape

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Humphry Repton (1752-1818) worked up his ideas for the Blaise Castle landscape over the course of two site visits in 1795.

The greatest challenge and, at the same time the greatest asset of the place, was the steep terrain surrounding the Hazel Brook. The greatest disappointment, the inadequacy and unreliability of the water in the brook itself.

Repton’s response was pragmatic. The result delightful; with Nicholas Pevsner describing Blaise Castle as ‘the ne plus ultra of picturesque layout and design’.

The proposal was recorded in a series of watercolours explained by copperplate text compiled at Repton’s home in Romford, Essex during February 1796. The bound volume known as a ‘Red Book’ is now held at Blaise Museum.

This talk will explore what the landscape at Blaise Castle and the Red Book can tell us about Repton’s character, the passage of his career as a landscape gardener, his working methods and his views on landscape design and architecture.

Speaker: Dr Jane Bradney is an independent lecturer and researcher on garden and landscape history.

This is a UWE Regional History Centre talk.