Before and After

Before and after photos are the most powerful way to present a potential mural project. I have many examples in my portfolio.

I came across an intriguing blog article called "Before and After Gardens of Humphry"; about Repton's *Red Books*.
"Long before cable TV popularized instant makeovers of houses, gardens, wardrobes, bodies and souls, Humphrey Repton knew the power of the 'before' and 'after'. His famous Red Books were presentation sketches for his potential clients; lovingly detailed watercolors with flaps that lifted or swept to the side to show in turn the existing landscape and how he proposed to improve it."
The University of Wisconsin has a marvelous digital library of decorative arts materials, and you can see the entire Repton sketchbook online.

Jane Austen mentions Repton in Mansfield Park; she and Repton were contemporaries, though she was 24 years younger, they died a year apart.

“I wish you could see Compton,” said he; “it is the most complete thing! I never saw a place so altered in my life. I told Smith I did not know where I was. The approach now, is one of the finest things in the country: you see the house in the most surprising manner. I declare, when I got back to Sotherton yesterday, it looked like a prison— quite a dismal old prison.”

“Oh, for shame!” cried Mrs. Norris. “A prison indeed? Sotherton Court is the noblest old place in the world.”

“It wants improvement, ma’am, beyond anything. I never saw a place that wanted so much improvement in my life; and it is so forlorn that I do not know what can be done with it.”

“No wonder that Mr. Rushworth should think so at present,” said Mrs. Grant to Mrs. Norris, with a smile; “but depend upon it, Sotherton will have _every_ improvement in time which his heart can desire.”

“I must try to do something with it,” said Mr. Rushworth, “but I do not know what. I hope I shall have some good friend to help me.”

“Your best friend upon such an occasion,” said Miss Bertram calmly, “would be Mr. Repton, I imagine

That is what I was thinking of. As he has done so well by Smith, I think I had better have him at once. His terms are five guineas a day.”*

*comparing todays currency to 1815, a factor of about 60 is appropriate; so Mr. Repton's terms would be £300 a day. A guinea was the same as a pound; "You paid tradesmen, such as a carpenter, in pounds but gentlemen, such as an artist, in guineas. It was a tradition in the legal profession that a barrister was paid in guineas but kept only the pounds, giving his clerk the shillings (they were all men then)."
link to book review "Jane Austen and the English Landscape" by Mavis Batey

link to article on Repton, landscape plans forHanslope Park; illustrations.

link to Independant article by Anna Pavord "Landscapes of Scents and Sensibility"

link to what is a guinea?


Ziska said...

Check out Edward Tufte's "Visual Explanations" he uses Repton reproductions as illustrations.

Kim said...


charlotte said...

Just stumbled on your blog, and love it. The Repton link is amazing thanks! Am so with you on the power of the before, and after pictures. Am also a decorative painter / muralist. Will be sure to visit here regularly.

Kim said...

cool, Charlotte.