Letters from Humphry Repton’s Family

The life and work of Humphry Repton are of interest to scholars and readers from a wide variety of historical sub-disciplines because his activities made an impact not only on architecture, gardens and the landscape but also on individuals, localities and Georgian society more generally. His surviving letters, manuscripts and published works of various types, which are housed in numerous repositories, have been drawn on by historians to reconstruct different aspects of Repton’s contribution to the English landscape and to Georgian society. Whereas Repton’s landscape design books (known as his Red Books), his other designs and published printed works display his public side, as do his memoirs, the letters written by him held at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California, provide a different view. They shed light on some of his private thoughts and attitudes, at times somewhat negative, written as they were towards the end of his life, which,

The Whirlpool of Misadventures

The Whirlpool of Misadventures: Letters of Robert Paston, First Earl of Yarmouth, 1663-1679 The famous Paston Letters document the rise to wealth and status of a Norfolk family from 1422-1509, and first appeared in print in 1787. The most significant collection of letters detailing the family’s subsequent fortunes is in the Norfolk Record Office and was published in 2012 by the Norfolk Record Society. These letters continue the story from 1663 to 1679: the Pastons were honoured with the lord lieutenancy of Norfolk, a royal marriage and an earldom, but they were also engulfed by a ‘whirlpool of misadventures’ which was to lead to their eventual bankruptcy and extinction. The most important group consists of some 88 letters from Robert Paston (1632-1683), first earl of Yarmouth, principally to his wife. They begin in 1664 on a note of optimism. After the restoration of Charles II, there were many royalists competing