‘I am extremely proud of this unique facsimile, created by the most skilled
craftsmen using the finest materials and worthy of the original. The Duchess
and Dowager Duchess worked tirelessly to ensure Repton’s hand-painted
watercolours are perfectly matched to the original.’
Andrew Russell, 15th Duke of Bedford
The Red Book For Woburn Abbey, 1805 by Humphry Repton
Reproduced from the original manuscript from the private library of the Duke of Bedford.
Landscape designer, Humphry Repton took great pride in the Red Books he produced to present his work to clients. When John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford (1766-1839), invited him to prepare landscape designs for Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, Repton had no other commission on the horizon. His eagerness for the Duke’s approval of his designs is clear from the Red Book created for Woburn Abbey – it is recognised as one of the finest examples. Repton’s hopes were high and ultimately successful. Woburn Abbey became the property where his designs were most fully realized.
A 21st Century Reproduction
The Repton landscape at Woburn Abbey is gradually being restored and will become one of the best surviving examples of his works. To mark the bicentenary of Repton’s death Woburn Abbey and Gardens commissioned:
a limited edition of 75 copies of Repton’s Red Book for Woburn Abbey, 1805 and
a richly illustrated companion book Humphry Repton and the Russell Family featuring the Red Books for Woburn Abbey and Endsleigh, Devon by landscape designer, gardens historian and Repton scholar, Keir Davidson.
Organisations that have already acquired one of the limited edition copies include:
Dumbarton Oaks Library, Harvard
Frances Loeb Library, Harvard
Getty Research Institute
Michigan State University
One of the oldest bookbinding firms in Britain was chosen for this special commission. They combined their traditional skills with the latest fine art printing techniques to create a book as close to Repton’s original as possible: matching the soft tone watercolours, materials, ‘reveals’, and even the folds, creases and signs of age are recreated in this beautiful hand bound volume, which is faithful to the original 19th century binding, covered in vegetable tanned dark red straight-grain goatskin and tooled in 24 carat gold leaf. It includes a signed introduction by the current Duke of Bedford and a colophon.