Tennis: History & Mysteries

An International Conference on the History of Real Tennis

Tuesday 24 & Thursday 26 April 2012

10am – 1pm

The Centenary Committee Room,The Queen’s Club

Palliser Road W14 9EQ

An International Conference on the History of Real Tennis held on the occasion of the 2012 Men’s World Championship at The Queen’s Club.


Thierry Bernard-Tambour, France

David Best, UK

Cees de Bondt, Holland

Heiner Gillmeister, Germany

Roman Krznaric, UK

Paul Mirat, France

John Shneerson, UK

Richard Travers, Australia

Charles Wade, UK

& Papers prepared by:

Allan Willingham, Australia

James Zug, USA


10am – 1pm Tuesday & Thursday

Location: The Centenary Committee Room, T&RA Building,

The Queen’s Club

W14 9EQ

We are extremely grateful for the support of The Queen’s Club &

The 2012 World Championship Committee for providing the use of the Centenary Committee Room and the Teas.

RECEPTION & Book Signing:

All Conference participants are welcome to join us on:

Wednesday 25 April 5:30-7:30pm

Heywood Hill Bookstore

10 Curzon Street


Wine kindly provided by Domaine Drouhin & Pol Roger UK


Bernard Anscomb, Simon Mansfield & David Thomas, 2012 World Championship Committee; Attila Kerekes, the Queen’s Club; Derek Williams (Mayfield Press); James Simpson (Pol Roger UK); Rachel Heslop (Heywood Hill);

Bryan Lewis (Media on Demand); Paul Brown ( &

Kathryn McNicoll (Ronaldson Publications).

Tennis: History & Mysteries

An International Conference on the History of Real Tennis



First Session   10:00-11:10

10:00               Introduction (Frederika Adam)

1.         Paul Mirat (France)

“The Revival of Some Tennis Courts in South West France”

2.         Thierry Bernard Tambour (France)

“The Paumiers du Roi in 17th and 18th Century France”

11:00-11:10    Discussion & Questions (Kathryn McNicoll)

11:10               Tea

Second Session           11:30-1pm

11:30               Introduction (Frederika Adam)

3.         David Best (UK)

                                     “The Famous James Street Court”

4.         Allan Willingham (Australia)(read by Richard Travers)

“The Enigmatic Mr. Lukin, Secretary of the James Street Tennis Club, and the Import of his Treatise on Tennis”

5.         Charles Wade (UK)

                        “The Real Tennis Handicapping System – how it began”

12:40-1pm                  Discussion & Questions (Kathryn McNicoll)

WEDNESDAY 25 APRIL 2012      5:30-7:30pm

Conference Reception & Book Signing hosted by Rachel Heslop & Domaine Drouhin, Burgundy. Heywood Hill Book Shop, 10 Curzon Street, Mayfair.


Third Session 10:00-11:30

10:00               Introduction (Frederika Adam)


6.         John Shneerson (UK)

“The Social and Economic Conditions behind the Rise and Fall in Popularity of Tennis in 19th century England”

7.         Heiner Gillmeister (Germany)

“Tennis Continental”

8.         Richard Travers (Australia)

“Real Tennis in Lyon”

11:20-11:30                Discussion & Questions (Kathryn McNicoll)


11:30-11:45                Tea

Fourth Session           11:45-1pm

11:45               Introduction (Frederika Adam)

9.         Cees de Bondt  (Holland)

“Caravaggio’s Infamous Tennis Match: An Inquiry into a Caravaggesque Painting”

10.       Roman Krznaric (UK)

“The Democratic Revolution in the History of Tennis”

12:40-1pm                  Discussion & Questions (Kathryn McNicoll)



11. James Zug “The Lost Courts of America” 

There will be 11 papers over 2 days. (James Zug is providing an “eleventh” paper which will be available in print).  We are incredibly lucky to have assembled such a wonderful group of authors and scholars from Australia, Germany, France, UK and USA presenting their latest research.

Tea and Coffee are available in the Centenary Committee Room, T&RA Building (follow the signs) from 9:30am and the first paper of the day will start at 10am.  We will break again for tea mid-way through the morning.  Everyone is welcome to join the conference even after the session has started. (If you arrive late, please wait at the door and someone will be there to help you find a seat for the session.)

There will be a few minutes for questions after each paper and then a longer discussion led by Kathryn McNicoll at the end of each session.  We welcome your questions and look forward to lively discussions! 

If you would like to attend the conference and reception, please register with Frederika Adam (to know how many programmes to print and our numbers for tea!). 

We are going to film the conference and post on to view as videos for free in the archive.  These should be up on the site by the end of the following week.  We are also hoping to publish an ebook and are looking for support towards this project.  If you would like to help make this happen please get in touch!

There is a special conference discount (£20 for both days) for those who register and pay in advance (before the 24th April). It is also possible to pay on the door each day (£15 per day).  

All conference participants (and their guests) are welcome to a Reception & book signing with the speakers hosted by Rachel Heslop at Heywood Hill Book Shop.  Please join us for some lovely Domaine Drouhin wines kindly provided by Pol Roger UK & to celebrate mid-week of the Championships on Wednesday 25 April 5:30-7pm.

For more information & to register:

Frederika Adam

+44 (0)7710463755