Della Caualleria

Georg Engelhard Löhneysen

Acquired from A.P. Stok
Acquisition 1999
Date 1609-1610
Size 45 x 33 cm.
Signature 1786 E 2

An early edition from Germany is not usually a high priority for purchase by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. Nevertheless, this well-illustrated instruction manual on horsemanship was purchased from a private individual in 1999. An exceptional work in many ways, it consists of two sections which taken together provide all the information a noble stud-farm owner could possibly want. The descriptions, but above all the illustrations - approximately 240 wood engravings and ninety copper engravings on double sheets - cover everything equestrians need to know about horses. The first section is about the breeds, care, breaking in and training, and medical treatment of these noble quadrupeds. The second section discusses all items of horse tack in detail. At the back are several full-page pictures of riding coats, tournaments, stable designs and equestrian clothing. The book is generally regarded as one of the most important equestrian works of the early modern period.

An additional reason for acquiring this book was because it is known that there was a copy in the Stadtholder's collection. This book was therefore displayed at the anniversary exhibition celebrating Prince Maurice of Nassau at the Rijksmuseum. Perhaps Prince Maurice even used it himself, for instance to design the new stables in Rijswijk which were completed in 1625.
The book's author, Georg Engelhard Löhneysen (1552-1622) was well-known in his time. He had served several German princes as a riding and fencing instructor and an equerry. Around 1580 he bought the country estate Remlingen, where he set up a printing house in 1596 to publish several sumptuous books written by himself, including this splendid work, an adaptation of the workVon Zeumen, which he wrote in 1588. In 1639, during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) his printing press and country estate were destroyed, and the remaining books were lost.