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MAJOR WALTER CLOPTON WINGFIELD (1833-1912)

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MAJOR WALTER CLOPTON WINGFIELD (1833-1912)
Autograph letter, signed 'Walter Wingfield', from Star Hotel, Worcester, 5 September [n.d.], 4pp, 8°, to his wife, 'My dear Alice', thanking her for her letter and saying he is going to the seaside, talking of his visit to Worcester Cathedral and enclosing some books with interesting pages marked 'in the largest book you will find "The Cloptons" mentioned...' (creased on folds, some smudging).

Lot Essay

A RARE AUTOGRAPH LETTER FROM THE INVENTOR AND POPULARIZER OF LAWN TENNIS. Wingfield published the first set of rules for 'Saphairistikè or Lawn Tennis' in December 1873, a new synthesis of rackets, royal tennis and badminton, and sold boxed sets of equipment together with Messrs French & Co. of London. He applied for a patent for his court in February 1874. However, he was later discredited by Heathcote and Marshall who published revised rules, including a rectangular rather than an hour-glass court, in 1877. In July that year the first world tournament at the All-England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club of Wimbledon took place. Despite Wingfield's undeniable contribution to the game, his obituary in 1912 made no mention of the word 'tennis'.

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