The Garden Guide

Book: Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening, 1795
Chapter: APPENDIX.

Uvedale Price on Repton

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I had the honour of knowing Mr. Price, as a gentleman, long before he became an author; and I trust he knew me as such before I entered into a profession, which he must have known I was endeavouring to render liberal, rational, and respectable, at the very time which he selects for loading its professors with contempt and ridicule, as belt-makers- deformers-shavers of Nature-dealers in ready-made taste, and such like opprobrious epithets. However, amidst this despicable herd, Mr. Price has the goodness to distinguish me in the following note: "Mr. Repton (who is deservedly at the head of his profession) might effectually correct the errors of his predecessors, if to his taste and facility in drawing (an advantage they did not possess), to his quickness of observation, and to his experience in the practical part, he were to add an attentive study of what the higher artists have done, both in their pictures and drawings. Their selections and arrangements would point out many beautiful compositions and effects in nature, which, without such a study, may escape the most experienced observer. The fatal rock on which all professed improvers are likely to split, is system: they become mannerists, both from getting fond of what they have done before, and from the ease of repeating what they have so often practised: but to be reckoned a mannerist, is at least as great a reproach to the improver as to the painter. I have never seen any piece of water that Mr. Repton had both planned and finished himself. Mr. Brown seems to have been perfectly satisfied when he had made a natural river look like an artificial one: I hope Mr. Repton will have a nobler ambition;-that of having his artificial rivers and lakes mistaken for real ones.