Early and Asymmetrical Rackets
This is an especially fascinating and well-developed section within the Collection, featuring several uniquely rare rackets. Early strung rackets for the ancient game of Court Tennis were generally smaller in size. The Collection includes a very interesting example with elaborate carving and string pattern dating back over 200 years.
By the mid-1700s the rackets were full-sized with leather wrapped grips and lobbed, asymmetrical heads, as shown in engraving in the exhibit, from two French Encyclopedie (1762). This design enabled the racket head to reach closer to the floor to get the low bouncing balls, as well as for scooping the ball out of the corners. This design still perseveres in modern day Court Tennis.
The "Tilt-Top" rackets became the popular choice in the early days of Lawn Tennis in the 1870s. The Collection is fortunate to have many outstanding examples of early rackets, including the only known example of the Henry V model lawn tennis racket, and a stunning inlaid tilt-top probably owned by Royalty.