Extract from the 'Red Book' for Langley Park, Beckenham, London, 1790
Pen and watercolour on paper
Artist: Humphry Repton
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections
Once an architect has developed his or her ideas, they go on to complete more formal illustrations or renderings of the project. Helping homeowners to visualise and understand a proposed design is imperative for architects. Without client support, the designer may lose the commission. Humphry Repton, an early landscape gardener who painted this image of a landscape for Langley Park, created a catalogue-like portfolio for his clients called the 'Red Book'.
Repton knew the importance of holding his patrons' attention and flipping through the book took readers through a project virtually, step by step. Repton drew his proposals full of enticing views replete with animals, lakes and garden follies like temples, grottos or statuary. Most innovative was Repton's presentation of before and after views of the project, a technique that architects still employ. The 'after' images were picturesque renderings of a client's property, inspired by the paintings of 17th century landscape artists. Through the Red Book, Repton made the homeowner excited to begin the project.