15 Apr 2016

A new book by Mike Garnett

In my last book Tennis - Reflections in Time, I wrote of an outdoor tennis game played in front of Queen Elizabeth I at Elvetham House in 1591. The notes of this event were not published until two centuries later by John Nichols - The Progresses of Queen Elizabeth Volume I 1533 to 1591. I was intrigued to find this reference but frustrated that no contemporary illustration was known. I asked my colleague Michael Lindell to draw a likely representation, and this duly appeared on page 12.

Since then, a copy of an illustrated manuscript has come my way, clearly showing an outdoor tennis match played about the time of the game at Elvetham. To me this is one of the most exciting finds in the world of tennis and pre-dates Wimbledon by 250 years.

Tennis – From a Bygone Era will be a substantial book of 350 + pages and over 300 illustrations. For the first time in my publishing career, a full colour spread will be included – specifically for the manuscript illustrating the game of tennis described above.

Some other eclectic features of this book include:

.. Top English amateur JM Heathcote, ensured lawn tennis followed rules of real tennis not rackets (1877).

.. Charles Kingsley (Westward Ho!) gives us a clue to a previously unidentified court (1854)

.. Miguel de Cervantes (1616) visits Hell, and finds Devils playing tennis.

.. Twin brothers from an aristocratic family changed places on the tennis court to win matches and confuse their opponents (1770)

.. Bathurst Cup, Hobart – results and photos of Australia’s successes (2015).

.. GK Chesterton writes provocatively: ‘English Tennis, Can it be Saved?’ (1928)

.. Why was the tennis court called The Clink: early illustrations (1600’s)

.. Who was meant to succeed Bob Horne at Hobart: it wasn’t Percy Finch (1903)

.. A well respected tennis professional hanged and strangled in front of the Louvre. Why? (1594)

.. Rackets courts from the 1830’s revealed on the sub-continent – Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, Rangoon.

.. Robbery at Exhibition Street court (Melbourne) lands youngster in jail (1886)

.. Fragments of lost manuscript of Livy (AD10) found in France – used as parchment to cover surfaces of tennis rackets (1688).

.. Detroit – sad demise of this once great city resulted in the demolition of the elegant University Club and rackets court (2013)

.. The King who brought scandal and tennis to his nation (1896).

.. Member of the famous Tompkins family of English professionals came to Australia to teach tennis in his declining years – buried at a Victorian country town (1902).

This book will be printed and case-bound with quality products – all within the State of Victoria.

The print run will not exceed 150 copies, the first 50 will be numbered and referred to as ‘subscription copies’. The book will be available at RMTC late 2016. The price will be $120 (Australian dollars) with no postage if collected from the club. Orders for Hobart, Ballarat and Sydney will be delivered free. Orders for UK and USA will be available during the Masters events at RMTC in January 2017 during which there will be players from overseas.   I am therefore confident in getting the books to the country of origin without cost.

No payment required until publication.

If you wish to order a copy, please advise Mike Garnett via email: by cut-off date 15 May 2016. Only the number ordered will be printed – there will be no spare copies.

For a subscription copy, please nominate preferred number 1 to 50 (no additional cost).

NOTE: All proceeds from the sale of this book will be devoted to the restoration of a magnificent tennis fresco located at a Ducal Palace in Italy. Dated to 1635, this painting is in urgent need of restoration, without which it will be lost forever. A colour illustration of this fresco will be included in the book for all to see, admire, and lament.

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