Falconry

History of the collection: The collection dates back to a donation from the estate of Professor AEH Swaen made in 1948.
Size: The collection comprises approximately two hundred books.
Accessibility: The books are listed in the online public catalogue.
More information: Anna Rademakers - 070-3140780.

J.M. van de Wall, De valkerij op het Loo. Haarlem, 1986. P. 52. Shelf mark: 552 B18. 

J.M. van de Wall, De valkerij op het Loo. Haarlem, 1986. P. 52. Shelf mark: 552 B18.

J.M. van de Wall, De valkerij op het Loo. Haarlem, 1986. P. 64. Shelf mark: 552 B18. 

J.M. van de Wall, De valkerij op het Loo. Haarlem, 1986. P. 64. Shelf mark: 552 B18.

J.M. van de Wall, De valkerij op het Loo. Haarlem, 1986. P. 44. Shelf mark: 552 B18. 

J.M. van de Wall, De valkerij op het Loo. Haarlem, 1986. P. 44. Shelf mark: 552 B18.

The collection

The Koninklijke Bibliotheek owes its falconry collection to a donation from the estate of Profession AEH Swaen, made in 1948. Adriaan Ernst Hugo Swaen (1863-1947) was descended from an ancient line of Gelderland magistrates. He was a man of many interests who had spent time in England and had come to share in both the language and the inclinations of the landed gentry. Swaen worked in the Netherlands as a teacher of English, and later as a lecturer and professor of that language in Groningen. His interest in the life of birds is reflected in his honorary membership in the Hungarian Ornithological Society and The British Falconers Club, as well as in his role as chairman of the Nederlandse Vereniging tot Bescherming van Vogels (Netherlands Society for the Protection of Birds) and honorary chairman of the Valkeniersverbond Adriaan Mollen (Adriaan Mollen Falconers' League).
Swaen regularly published articles related to both his own field and to his hobbies. His best-known work in this area is De valkerij in de Nederlanden (1937), while his edition of a manuscript from c. 1639, property of the Koninklijke Bibiotheek, was published posthumously as Het Jacht-bedryff (1948). His falconry collection, almost one hundred items, was bequeathed to the Koninklijke Bibliotheek and is supplemented by incidental acquisitions. The collection now contains about two hundred items.

Hunting with trained birds of prey is one of the oldest forms of sport hunting, a sport that moreover has spread across the globe and was also very popular in the past. One of the oldest descriptions of hunting with birds of prey is De arte venandi cum avibus, a work dictated by Emperor Frederick II in about 1250. A facsimile of this work is kept in the KB.
This collection comprises about two hundred items and contains many illustrated works related to the subject, in the Netherlands and in other countries. Well known titles include Traité de fauconnerie by H. Schlegel and AH Verster van Wulverhorst, with many colour lithographs, and De valkerij in Europa sinds de vroegste tijden by Lt. Col. NJAPH van Es. Only 75 copies of this last work, with its coloured illustrations, are said to have been published.
As a European sport, falconry had a special connection to the princely courts. The tie with the Netherlands' own House of Orange is described in JWM van de Wall in De valkerij op Het Loo, published in 1986. Although relatively little has been written about falconry in the Netherlands, there have always been a few falconers' societies, while the Stichting Fonds Valkerijhistorie (the Falconry Historical Foundation) is mostly concerned with the history of the sport.

Literature

  • Kranendonk, A.G. van. 'Levensbericht A.E.H. Swaen'. In Jaarboek van de Maatschappij van Nederlandse Letterkunde te Leiden 1947-1949. Leiden : Brill [etc.], p. 178-187.
  • Valkerij, een passie : boeken over valkerij uit de collectie van prof. A.E.H. Swaen. Den Haag : Koninklijke Bibliotheek, 1993, 50 p.
  • 'A.E.H. Swaen, anglicist 1863-1947'. In: Collectors and collections. Koninklijke Bibliotheek, 1789-1998. Zwolle : Waanders, 1998, p. 99-102.