Port Eliot Red Book — Designs for Lord Eliot by Humphry Repton (1792-3)

Port Eliot Red Book: Approaches to the House


Although an Approach through the Park to the Mansion is generally deemed one of the chief objects of attention in modern gardening, yet that can only be with propriety adopted when the house is so situated as to render it necessary. For, as I deem the true intent of an approach to be a road to the house, I think it an unpardonable abuse of power to make visitors go much farther about than the nearest line possible. Indeed, such is the perverseness of human nature, that few will use the more circuitous road, however beautiful, after a nearer is once discovered.

From this consideration, I am of opinion that, altho' many very extensive and delightful drives may be made about the park and through the neighbouring property, yet the only approaches which can ever be properly deemed such are one by land thro' the town of St. Germains and one by water from an improvement of the boat-house.

When the town of St. Germains, by proper neatness, shall be made a part of the scenery, it is hardly possible to conceive a more magnificent and striking effect than will be produced at first entering the park,* on bursting thro' the narrow screen of wood. This screen should be extended from the Abbey to hide the wall, nor do I think the view from the House will be injured by such a plantation. If the high-road did not exist, we should only look up an inclined plane to the south west, upon ground always in shadow.

*represented in sketch No. II.

For ease of reading, punctuation and capitalization have been modernized.