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FRANCOIS ALEXANDRE PIERRE DE GARSAULT
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FRANCOIS ALEXANDRE PIERRE DE GARSAULT

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FRANCOIS ALEXANDRE PIERRE DE GARSAULT

Art du Paumier-Raquetier et de la Paume, [Paris: no printer], 1767. Folio (46.5 x 30.1cm), collation: [*2] A-H2 I1; iv 34p. 5 numbered engraved plates (a little light spotting, slight waterstaining at lower margin of end leaves), UNCUT in contemporary marbled boards (spine worn and with old repairs). Exhibited: The Queen's Club, 2004, no. 303.

FIRST SEPARATELY-PUBLISHED EDITION of a work forming "one of the most important links with past and modern tennis" (Noel and Clark). A member of the Académie Royale, De Garsault (1691-1776) not only contributed the article on tennis to the Encylopedie but likewise: L'Art de la Lingère; L'Art du Bourrelier; L'Art du Perruquier; L'Art du Tailleur de corps; L'Art de la Marchande de modes. Despite having fewer plates, De Garsault's text is here considerably enlarged. For Noel and Clark (p. 285) the interest of the book "lies mainly in the very accurate description of courts of the time", both the now obsolete jeu quarré and the jeu de dedans. They also note (p. 310) that de Garsault "was the first to describe the chases, fourteen in number, painted on the floor of the court as they are in a French court today". His detailed instructions on the manufacture of both racket and ball are hardly less crucial. In the words of the late Lord Aberdare (Tennis and Rackets, p. 24): "The racket described and illustrated by de Garsault in 1767 is the immediate ancestor of a modern racket with a much longer handle than previously. One noticeable difference is that in those days, the vertical strings were twice the thickness of the horizontal strings and that the latter were wound round each of the vertical strings instead of being threaded through them as they are now. This was the sort of racket used by Barcellon and Masson, Barre and Biboche". UNCUT COPY. Garnett p. 291; Henderson p. 186.
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