The Archery Library
Old Archery Books, Articles and Prints
Home > Books > The Art of Archery > Preface

In a pamphlet which appeared in 1874, called "Un Livre perdu et un mot retrouvé" Dr. Desbarreaux-Bernard, of Toulouse, makes known the discovery made by him in a collection of papers printed in the 16th and 17th centuries, of the first and last leaves of "l'Art d'Archerie," published at Paris by Michel Le Noir, probably about 1515. Michel Le Noir followed the trade of a bookseller and printer from 1492 to 1520. He was buried at Saint-Benoit on September 29 of the latter year.

I have a manuscript written on vellum of the end of the 15th century called "La Fachon de tirer de larc a main." On comparing it with the remaining fragments of "l'Art d'Archerie," I was pleased to find that it was the original of this lost book. I was fortunate enough to purchase this MS. from the Baron Pichon.

This discovery is the more interesting, since "l'Art d'Archerie " is the first printed book dealing specially with archery, Ascham's "Toxophilus or the Schole of Shooting" having been first printed in 1545.

I think it will be pleasing to lovers of archery that this anonymous book, the author of which, from the use of such local words as "fachon, commenchement, anchiens, amchoiz, adoulchissant, cherf, tierche," must have been a native of Picardy, where archery is still in great favour, should be published.

Thanks to the great kindness of my learned friend M. A. Claudin, I am able to give a photographic reproduction of the title page; contents, last leaf containing the colophon, and also the printer's device of Michel Le Noir, from the fragmentary portions of "l'Art d'Archerie," formerly in the possession of Dr. Desbarreaux-Bernard, and now in the library of the city of Toulouse.

It is a slight homage to the memory of him who has enabled me by his pamphlet to discover the original and complete text of the "Lost Book."


July 8th, 1901.