Great Books on Horsemanship

Bibliotheca Hippologica Johan Dejager

This lavishly illustrated encyclopedic reference work brings together and organizes virtually all the great works on horses published in the first two and a half centuries following the invention of printing. It covers over 350 rare books, acquired by the Belgian collector Johan Dejager, ranging from the late fifteenth to the early nineteenth century. A particular emphasis is placed on horsemanship, riding masters, veterinary science, and the cavalry. Biographical accounts of the 175 authors behind the books are included, as well as bibliographical descriptions of the original items. The book also offers a number of insightful essays. Thus, this unique volume invites readers to travel through the assorted historical documents as they collectively shed light onto the unparalleled importance, value, and beauty of the horse.


EUR €193.00USD $232.00

Review Quote

“This is an essential catalogue that should be in every serious rare-book library and on sturdy coffee-tables.” Roger Gaskell. In: The Library, Vol. 16, No. 1 (March 2015), pp. 95-96. “ Great Books on Horsemanship is "a huge undertaking. […] Anyone with an interest in horse and rider, anyone who is a student of Renaissance book history, is advised to enjoy it at first hand.” Rupert Neelands, Christie's, London. In: The Book Collector, Summer 2015, pp. 307-311. “ Great Books on Horsemanship will serve as a tremendous aid to scholars of the history of riding, veterinary medicine, and the visual culture of the horse. … [It] could easily serve as a textbook for a university course on the horse in Western Europe.” Elizabeth M. Tobey. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 69. No. 1 (Spring 2016), pp. 277-278. “Covering the full range of equestrian topics such as training, riding, exercising, breeding, bitting, shoeing, harnessing, and the horse’s anatomy, the texts are catalogued by century and country of production and then by their authors. There is a solid bibliography and indices of authors, artists, printers and publishers, other names and places and former owners. A massive tome, the book contains numerous full-page plates and makes lavish use of gold.” Simon Turner. In: Print Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 3 (September 2016), pp. 315-317. “This is an impressive book, not only by its 364 book titles described, but also by the quality of the descriptions, the many illustrations, the biographies of the authors, the rarity of certain titles and the added materials. […] The high editorial level is matched by the high level of graphic design and production, which make the book easy to consult and to read. The quality of the photographs is exemplary. The fine paper is very well chosen and resulted in a 5 kg weight. […] This book is important because it demonstrates the value of equestrian literature as part of our cultural history. It also makes clear how the use of the horse went together with the progress of civilization.” Boudewijn Commandeur. In: Quaerendo, Vol. 47, Nos. 3-4 (2017), pp. 351-357. “Ohne Zweifel wird dieser eindrucksvolle Katalog fürderhin als maßgebliches Nachschlagewerk für Sammler und Antiquare die bereits existierenden, nicht sonderlich zahlreichen Verzeichnisse ihrer Art ergänzen.” Klaus Schreiber, Stuttgart. In: Informationsmittel (IFB). “Een monumentaal werk … een sieraad voor de boekenkast.” Henk Slechte. In: De Boekenwereld, Vol. 31, No. 2 (2015), pp. 84-86. “L'expert en livres anciens Koert van der Horst propose ici une série d'études sur le cheval en Europe de la Renaissance au XIXe siècle, abondamment illustrée, où figurent de copieuses notices à la fois bibliographiques, biographiques et historiques.” Charles-Éloi Vial, Bibliothèque nationale de France. In: Bulletin du bibliophile, 2015, No. 1, pp. 166-167.

Table of contents

Introduction Essays Elisabetta Deriu An art in motion. The development and dissemination of equestrian knowledge in Europe (16th- 17th centuries) Bernard Clerc The development of equine medicine in Europe viewed through the works of the equine veterinarians of the 17th and 18th centuries Thierry d’Erceville The development of the cavalry as shown in the works of military equerries of the 17th and 18th centuries Tim Clayton Horsemanship in paintings, drawings and prints: the outstanding artists who marked four centuries Catalogue 15th Century Germany Italy 16th Century Low Countries Germany England France Italy Spain & Portugal 17th Century Low Countries Germany England France Italy Spain & Portugal 18th Century Low Countries Germany England France Italy Spain & Portugal 19th Century Low Countries Germany England France Italy Bibliography Indices


All interested in horsemanship in the 15th to 19th century. With essays on equestrian knowledge, veterinary science, the development of the cavalry and horsemanship in paintings, drawings and prints.