Tennis

Introduction | Earliest Book About Tennis | Tennis as a Royal Game
Art of the Paumier-Raquetier | Enlightenment, Revolution & Tennis: Diderot & David
Court Tennis in the 19th Century | Beginnings of the Lawn Tennis
From Recreation to Competition | Some 20th Century Court Tennis Rarities
Stars & Icons of Modern Lawn Tennis | Survival of Court Tennis as an International Sport
Billy Haggard: Sportsman and Bookman | Selected References

 
Court Tennis in the 19th Centu
ry

A Guide to Tennis in Napoleon’s France

Barcellon, Pierre.
pierce barcellonRules and Principles of Tennis.
Translated by Sir Richard Hamilton, Bt.  Foreword by Lord Aberdare.
Oxford : Ironbark/Ronaldson Publications, 1987.  Original cloth, in jacket.  Inscribed by Hamilton "To Bill Haggard, in remembrance of the happy games we had at Moreton Morell."

Barcellon, son of the royal paumier under Louis Quinze and himself a professional, published his Régles et principes de paume in 1800.   Shown hereare his comments on the changing economics of tennis, as royal patronage replaced by a complex interplay of tennis professionals, court owners, rentiers, challenges, and betting.   The court at Moreton Morrell, Warwickshire,  built as a private court by an American in 1905, has survived to become an independent club.


Tennis Champion of the Early Nineteenth Century

Bromley, William, 1769‑1842.
j edmond barreBarre.
Mezzotint engraving.  S.l.: s.n., [1849].  Donated by Janet Haggard Harkins.

J. Edmond Barre (1822‑1873), son of a tennis professional in Grenoble and Paris, first came to notice as a tennis player in the late 1820's, when the restored French royal court revived the game.  Barre made his living from tennis contests, both in France and Britain, and in 1855 became royal paumier (tennis professional) to the Emperor Napoleon III.   His career was only ended by the Franco‑Prussian War and the Siege of Paris, leaving him to die impoverished.
The First Book on Tennis in English, 1822

[Lukin, Robert].
a treatise on tennis, by a member of the tennis clubA Treatise on Tennis, by a Member of the Tennis Club.

London: Rodwell and Martin, 1822.
Facsimile reprint, with introduction by Michael Wooldridge, Oxford:
Ronaldson Publications, 1991.  No. 89 of 100 copies, in original cloth.

In nineteenth‑century England, tennis, like cricket and other sports, developed as a club sport where upper‑class amateurs and the professionals who managed the proprietary and club courts competed together with mutual respect.  Lukin was secretary of the James Street Court in the Haymarket, built originally in 1675, and by the 1820's the only London tennis court still open (though the Prince Regent briefly revived tennis at Hampton Court Palace in 1818).   In the passage displayed here, Lukin argues the superiority of tennis over its chief contemporary rival, cricket, as cricket’s equal in physical demand and its superior in intellectual strategy.
Court Tennis in Early Nineteenth‑Century Britain

Games with the Ball –Tennis: the Court at Lord’s

tennis:  the court at lord'sChromolithograph.  London: Groom, Wilkinson, n.d.
Donated by Janet Haggard Harkins.


"Lord’s" is the home ground, and club‑house, for the Marylebone Cricket Club, the governing body for the sport.  At the request of club members, a tennis court was built there, opening in 1839, and soon became the venue for major championship and exhibition games.
 
The Revival of French Tennis

Fournier, Edouard, 1819‑1880.
le jeu de paumeLe Jeu de Paume, Son Histoire & Sa Description
.
Paris: Didier, 1862.  Original red cloth, gilt, with tipped‑in photographs.

Fournier’s book, the product of tennis’s re‑emergence in France during the Second Empire, set the pattern for several subsequent books about the game: part description, part guide to rules and strategy, but also solemnly aware of the history and past glories of the sport, and seeking to document their survival with lists, and selected portraits, of the champion players (both English and French) of the then‑modern era.  Only four North American libraries are recorded as holding copies of the book: the Haggard Collection makes Thomas Cooper Library the fifth.
Tennis Champion of the Mid-Nineteenth Century"Biboche".
Mezzotint engraving, ["Print no. 10"].  S.l.: s.n..  Donated by Janet Haggard Harkins.

"Biboche" (Charles Delahaye, 1825-1906) was the son of a tennis-court keeper from Amiens and a pupil of Barre.  In 1848 and again in 1851 he defeated the leading British players in London, and from 1861-his retirement in 1896 he was themaitre-paumier at the Tuileries.

 

 


A Pioneering British History of Tennis

Marshall, Julian, 1836‑1903.
the annals of tennisThe Annals of Tennis.

London: "The Field" Office, 1878.  Quarto, original brown pictorial cloth.

Marshall’s book, originally contributed as articles to the sporting periodicalThe Field, and issued both in folio and quarto format, remains the source from which many later books on tennis history are taken. Lord Aberdare, himself author of two histories of tennis, described it as the most scholarly book on the game, "comprehensive and authoritative."   Marshall, a musicologist and print collector, prints a remarkable array of literary and historical references to tennis, as well as discussing the finer points of tennis strategy.  Intact copies are rare as the book was frequently kept in the dedans of tennis courts for reference.

The Marginality of Court Tennis

Walsh, John Henry, 1810-1888.
manual of british rural sportManual of British rural sports: comprising shooting, hunting, coursing, fishing, hawking, racing, boating, pedestrianism, and the various rural games and amusements of Great Britain.

4th ed., entirely rev., with additions. London: Routledge, Warnes, & Routledge, 1859.  Quarter‑calf, in two volumes.

Books solely devoted to tennis can give a misleading picture of its condition.  This popular overview of a wide range of country sports and athletic activity devotes less than a column to tennis, concluding that "As the player cannot play without a regular racket‑court, . . .it is useless to attempt here more than a general idea of the game.  It is not much played except in London and some few of the large cities of the kingdom."


Court Tennis in Later Nineteenth‑Century Britain

Diagram intended to Explain the Game of Tennis
.
manchester tennis championship programFrom a 19th Century Print in the possession of the Manchester Tennis and Racquet Club.

The tennis court in the northern industrial city of Manchester opened in 1880, but the print reproduced here (from a later Manchester tennis championship program) appears to antedate that period. 

 


Court Tennis in a Late Victorian Sporting Series

Hebadminton libraryathcote, John Moyer, with contributions by A. Lyttelton and W.C. Marshall, et al.
Tennis; Lawn Tennis; Rackets; Fives.

The Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes.
First edition.  London: Longmans, Green, 1900.  Original pictorial cloth. Also:Second edition, red half morocco. 

This standard late Victorian series, edited nominally by the Duke of Beaufort, includes in this volume sections on both tennis and lawn tennis.  The frontispiece illustration depicts the Royal Tennis Court at Hampton Court Palace, with open side‑windows with curtains; the windows were glassed in only in the late 1880's.

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