The Second International Conference on the History of Tennis

“Tennis: Past & Present”

on the occasion of the men’s Real Tennis World Championship 

17 & 19 May 2016 (10am-1pm)

The Casino Theatre

International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum

Newport, RI 02840





Court Tennis Contemporary

Contemporary art inspired by the original racquet sport 

17-21 May 2016 

10am-4pm daily 

Newport Art Museum

76 Bellevue Avenue

Newport, RI 02840

Opening Reception: 17 May, 2-4pm 

Kindly supported by Robert Sinskey Vineyards 

On behalf of the Real Tennis Society it is with great pleasure to welcome you to attend the Second International Conference on the History of Tennis.   

Please feel free to RSVP using the form below or a simple Reply to this email confirming your attendance will suffice and please come anytime from 9:30am on Tuesday 17 May to register in person. Thank you.  

Tennis: Past & Present 

After the highly successful first conference on the history of real tennis at the 2012 men’s Real Tennis World Championship at the Queen’s Club, London, the Real Tennis Society was formed to create events that bring together scholars, artists and writers together to promote the history and game of real tennis.

“Tennis: Past & Present” includes papers by authors from France, UK, Australia and North America: Thierry Bernard-Tambour, David Best*, Alessandra Castellani*, Rob Lake, Joshua Mosley, John Shneerson, Richard Travers* and James Zug.  The schedule is below – there are four Sessions with 9 papers (please note the three authors (*) were unable to attend and their of the papers will be read in absentia due to the author not being able to travel to Newport).




9:30     Registration with Coffee & Tea in the Casino

FIRST SESSION 10:00am – 11:00am Tennis: Past & Present 

Welcome & Introduction: Frederika Adam, Session Chair


  1. John Shneerson, Independent Scholar, UK

‘Real Tennis Clubs – Origins and Ups and Downs’

  1. Dr Robert Lake, Douglas College, British Colombia, Canada

‘Not the simplest of father-son relations’: Examining the Contemporary Postition of Real Tennis as both an Independent Sport and Area of Scholarly Study in the Context of Developing Lawn Tennis Historiography

11:00-15          Tea Break  

SECOND SESSION 11:15am – 12:30pm European Courts Past & Present 

Frederika Adam, Introduction & Session Chair

  1. Thierry Bernard Tambour, independent historian, Paris, France

‘Chinon. A tennis court with a past and a future!’

  1. *Alessandra Castellani Torta, curator, Turin, Italy

‘The role of Trincotto in the education of princes of the House of Savoy’ 


Lunch 12:45-2PM La Forge Restaurant – RSVP with Frederika Adam


Opening Reception for ‘Court Tennis Contemporary’ 2-4pm

The Newport Art Museum

76 Bellevue Avenue

The Exhibition Reception is open to all – Catalogue available ($20).


9:30     Registration with Coffee & Tea in the Casino

THIRD SESSION 10:00 – 11:30 Tennis in North America 

Frederika Adam, Welcome

James Zug, Session Chair

  1. *Richard Travers, Independent Historian, Melbourne, Australia

‘Gordon Bennett and the Newport Casino’ 

6.. James Zug, Historian and journalist, USA

‘Keen Relish: A Look at Jay Gould’ 

11:00-15          Tea Break

FOURTH SESSION 11:15 – 12:45pm The Art of Tennis Courts: from Old Master to Contemporary Court Tennis

Frederika Adam, Introduction

Jim Zug, Session Chair

  1. *David Best, Independent historian, UK

‘An Architectural Gem’: The Great Close Tennis Play at Whitehall Palace’

  1. Thierry Bernard-Tambour, Paris, France

‘A portrait of a tennis court by Boilly: the jeu de paume du Comte d’Artois’

  1. Joshua Mosley, Professor and Chair of Fine Arts, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania

‘A brief overview of the research and production of a stop-motion animated 1907 Jeu de Paume match at Fontainebleau’

Q&A 12:15-12:30


Lunch 1-2pm, La Forge Restaurant – RSVP with Frederika Adam

2-3:30pm Conference Tour of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum

The Tour is open to all Conference Ticket Holders. 

This two-day conference is open to everyone curious about learning more about this wonderful sport and its rich and ancient history.  Tickets will be available on the door if you have friends who would like to join us on the day. 

Conference tickets are $20 per day or the Full Conference VIP Ticket ($30 pre-registration required). We encourage Students to attend and the discount is $20 for 2 days or $10 per day.

All Full Conference VIP Ticket ($30) holders receives:

– Tickets to both days of the Conference (Tuesday and Thursday)

– A Complimentary Copy of the Conference Program

– Invitations to Lunch at La Forge Restaurant both days of the Conference (Tuesday and Thursday) 12:45-2pm

– Invitation to the Exhibition Opening of Court Tennis Contemporary, Newport Art Museum on Tuesday 17 May 2-4pm

– A Private Tour of The International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum and Grounds on Thursday 19 May 2-3:30pm

– Invitation to the Book-Signing Reception at the National Tennis Club on Friday 20 May from 4pm

– Invitation to Conference/Exhibition Dinner sponsored by Robert Sinskey Vineyards on Friday 20 May.

Conference Webstreaming 

For those unable to come to Newport, we are aiming to webstream the Conference on the Real Tennis Society YouTube Channel – from 9:30am both days and the links are:  

Day 1: 

Day 2:


Court Tennis Contemporary 

The Exhibition Court Tennis Contemporary is a group exhibition of new work by artists inspired by Court Tennis. The exhibition is open for only five days from Tuesday 17 May at 10am until Saturday 21 May at 4pm.

We invite you to join the artists for the official Opening Reception on Tuesday 17 May, 2-4pm.  The opening reception has been kindly supported by Robert Sinskey Vineyards.

A Catalogue is available ($20) with a Foreword by NAM Executive Director Norah Diedrich and Catalogue Essay by curator Frederika Adam.

An official poster designed by Bill Sullivan is available to purchase at the exhibition.

The artists in Court Tennis Contemporary are:

Frederika Adam

Suzette Bross

Mac Carbonell

Elizabeth Curren

Michael Do

Tim Edwards

Sanam Gharagozlou

Katherine Hamer

Charles Johnstone

Jonathan Joubert

Michael Lindell

Joshua Mosley

Sean Quinn

Bill Sullivan

Jacqui Watkins


Conference & Exhibition Registration Form


Indicate the number on the left hand side: 


_____  Full Conference VIP Ticket(s) for both days of the Conference   $30each*


_____  Ticket(s) for Tuesday (only) for the Conference                              $20each


_____  Ticket(s) for Thursday (only) for the Conference                            $20each


(*Register before 8th May to receive this special discounted price.)


Lunch Reservation(s) for La Forge Restaurant after Conference


____    Tuesday         ____    Thursday       (pay on the day and price of lunch tbd)



If you would like more than one conference program or exhibition catalogue please order further copies here: 


_____  Copy/Copies of the Tennis History Conference Program              $15each


_____  Copies of the Exhibition Court Tennis Contemporary Catalogue             $20 each


_____  Court Tennis Contemporary Poster designed by Bill Sullivan      $


The Tour(s) and Exhibition Reception are open to all Conference ticket holders. Please RSVP and indicate if you would like to bring a guest.


____    Ticket Private Tour of the International Tennis Hall of Fame        VIPTicket

Thursday 19 May 2-3:30pm                                                             

____    Guest Ticket(s) for Private Tour of the Tennis Hall of Fame          $20 each


____    RSVP(s) for Exhibition Reception at the Newport Art Museum   VIPTicket

Tuesday 17 May 2-4pm



Book Signing Reception & Conference Dinner on Friday 20 May:


_____  Book Reception at the Pro-Am Final & Legends Match, National Tennis Club

Friday 20 May from 4pm


(Note: Tickets for the Legends Match are also available through the WC website.)


_____  Conference & Exhibition Dinner, venue TBD and sponsored by Robert Sinskey Vineyards

Friday 20 May, 8pm                                      $TBD


For further information on World Championship tickets for the Tennis and Social Events please see the National Tennis Club’s website:



Many thanks for your interest in the Conference and Exhibition and we look forward to seeing you on Tuesday! 


Frederika Adam

+44 7710463755 




For the Collector to the budding enthusiast – please have a look at this Book Order Form – orders can be made now and throughout next week. 


There are a number of books being published in 2016 and some will be available to buy and even signed by the author at the Book Signing Reception (Friday 20 May) while others can be reserved now through this form.


Please note all amounts with * are for pre-order only and not available to collect during the WC week. Prices do not include delivery by post.


Please indicate the number of copies you would like to buy: 


Tennis & The Visual Arts


_____  Charles Johnstone               East Court       (Studley Press)         $120

Charlie’s latest photo book publication is (finally!) on court tennis.  Specifically and exclusively on the East Court, Racquet & Tennis Club.  Rich Black and White photographs intermingle with the dense colors of Bickley red and black. This limited edition book (300 copies) includes a short essay by Jim Zug.  This is definitely one for the collector and real tennis fan alike. 


_____Michael Lindell An Alignment of the Stars Poster $20 & Cards  $20 & $30

A fabulous poster and sets of 4×6 and 8×12 27 postcards with depictions of all former and the current World Champions by illustrator extraordinaire “Mikko”. This Gallery of Champions by Melbourne’s famous Boomerang artist is not to be missed to commemorate your time in Newport as well as a great gift for the historically minded tennis fan with a wicked sense of humour. The set will be produced by Mayfield Press in Oxford, UK. 


Sets of 4×6 and 8×12 cards by works by Jonathan Joubert and Frederika Adam will also be available during the week. 


From Ronaldson Publications


_____  John Shneerson       Tennis Yesterday and Today  (2015)             $50 signed

John, a key force in the revival and renovation of the Newmarket court, has produced a significant contribution to the history and culture of tennis.  John will be signing copies in Newport at the Legends exhibition event (Friday 20 May from 4:30pm). This title is hot off the Ronaldson Publications press and we encourage you to reserve copies to be delivered from the UK in time for the World Championship week. 


_____  Kathryn McNicoll                The First and Foremost (2010)          $22

Keeping to the theme of the World Championship week, we are offering Kathryn’s (sister of former World Champion Chris Ronaldson and Director of Ronaldson Publications) book on the history of the World Championship. First and Foremost: A Gallery of Champions takes you through the history of the Championship and profiles both Champions and Challengers (men and women).  This is a beautiful coffee table book with a cover photograph by Frederika Adam. 


_____  Geoffrey Hiller                     Bandies of Fortune                            $30 

Geoff is an Australian academic and has published a number of titles on tennis – this is his most recent book. 


_____  Chris Ronaldson                   A Cut Above the Rest                          $22signed

This book is a classic.  Part history, technical and instructional manual from one of the greatest players, coaches and club professionals in the history of the sport.  A must for every tennis library and new player alike. 


Tennis, Squash & Lawn Tennis 


_____  Michael P. Garnett               Tennis – From a Bygone Era (2016)          *$95

The latest from Garnett following Tennis – Reflections in Time, including new research and wonderful bits of information: these compendiums are a treasure trove for the tennis fan. The book will be a limited edition of 150 copies and available at the end of 2016.  A fantastic note is that all proceeds from the sale of the book will be devoted to the restoration of a magnificent tennis fresco (1635) located at a Ducal Palace in Italy.  


_____  James Zug                 Squash: A History of the Game (2003)         $40 signed

Squash: A History of the Game was published by Scribner in 2003. It has a foreword by George Plimpton, the late tennis player and editor of Pierre’s Book (1971). The first chapter is a history of tennis and racquets. Zug, the only squash historian to visit the archives at Harrow School, has come up with the definitive story of how the game of squash was invented.



Robert Lake  A Social History of Tennis in Britain  (2nd edition, 2016)   *$45 paper/$116 hardback

‘From its advent in the mid-late nineteenth century as a garden-party pastime to its development into a highly professionalized high-performance sport, the history of tennis in Britain reflects important themes in Britain’s history.  In the first critical account of the sport’s history, Robert J. Lake explains how the game’s historical roots have shaped its modern structure, and how the history of tennis can tell us much about the history of wider British society.  The social history of tennis in Britain is a microcosm of British social history: sustained class conflict; struggles for female emancipation and racial integration; and the decline of empire and Britain’s shifting global relationships.’ A Social History of Tennis in Britain was the recipient of the Lord Aberdare Literary Prize (2015). 


Tennis and Science 


____Beretta & Tosi (eds.) NUNCIUS: Tennis and the Scientific Revolution    *$25

The published proceedings of the 2012 History of Science and Tennis conference held in Florence at the Museo Galileo.  Nuncius is the Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science and the papers given at the conference are a must for anyone interested in the history of the culture of tennis and its popular role in the intellectual life of Europe from the 15th century.  Volume 28, No. 1 (2013) published by Brill.


Tennis in Historical Fiction and a debut Novel by a Real Tennis Professional 


_____  Alvaro Enrigue        Sudden Death (2013)  US & UK editions  *$tbd signed

A new author for the real tennis community, Alvaro is currently Visiting Lecturer in the Latin American and Iberian Studies Department at Columbia University.  Sudden Death, recently published in English, describes a tennis match between Caravaggio and the Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo played with a ball from the most prized set in the 16th century: those made from the hair of the beheaded Anne Boleyn. This book is not about tennis but more generally how palla or a ball game – played in the streets or at court – fantastically sheds light on modern European culture intersecting the lives of a cast including: Galileo, Mary Magdalen, Popes, Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and the Aztecs in the New World of the 16th century.  


_____  Simon Marshall                   The Long Drawn Aisle (2015)           $25signed

Simon is a Real Tennis professional based in the UK and France.  This is his first novel which takes place in early Twentieth-Century Vienna.  Note: the book does not include tennis but anyone who travelled to Bordeaux between 2008-2013 would have met Simon while he was working on this novel. We invite all tennis fans to support artists, writers and musicians who play the game.  


Melbourne Monograph Series – expression of interest 

Please indicate if you would like to order a copy of either Travers’ or Best’s latest offering which will be available after September 2016 and the prices are yet to be determined. We will submit your request directly with the author so that you can reserve your copy in good time.  Both Best and Travers have prepared papers for this year’s conference in Newport. 


_____  Richard Travers  Pau (Melbourne Monograph Series, 2016)     

Richard, based in Melbourne, has published widely on the history of real tennis including his most recent book on the courts of Lyon (2012).  This new history of the Pau court and club (to be published in September 2016) will arrive, we hope, in time for the announcement by the city of Pau to renovate the Parc Beaumont court. 


_____  David Best  The Whitehall Courts (Melbourne Monograph Series, 2016) 

David has published many well-known books on tennis over the years including: An official history of the Hampton Court: The Royal Tennis Court (2002), The Official Story of the Tennis and Rackets Association (2007) and Disturb’d with Chaces (2009) with Brian Rich.  This work will be presented at the conference and the book will be published towards the end of this year or early next. 


Books and artists’ works will be available for sale during the week and at the Book Signing Reception on Friday 20th May from 4pm at the National Tennis Club.