MINGAUD, François (1771-1847). - John THURSTON (translator and publisher)
The Noble Game of Billiards wherein are exhibited extraordinary & surprising strokes which have excited the admiration of most of the Sovereigns of Europe, by Monsieur Mingaud, formerly Captaine d'Infanterie in the service of France ... Translated & Published by ... Thurston
London: published by John Thurston, 1830. Imperial octavo. (11 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches). Engraved title, folding uncoloured aquatint frontispiece, 1 engraved introductory plate, 40 hand-coloured engraved diagrammatic plates of various plays, extra-illustrated with a smaller-format (10 x 6 1/4 inches) 1p. letterpress prospectus tipped-in at the front.
Original dark red half roan over marbled paper-covered boards, upper cover mounted with original green glazed-paper label with engraved title, the flat spine divided into compartments with double gilt fillets.
A fine copy of the rare first English edition of this highly-influential work, here with the very rare original prospectus.
François Mingaud is variously credited with the invention of the modern leather cue tip or, more narrowly, with the rounded leather cue tip. His skill as a player and as an innovator and introducer of controlled spin to the game of billiards is universally acknowledged. He first shared many of the secrets of the techniques that he developed in his publication, Noble Jeu de Billard published in Paris in 1827. The present work is the first English edition of Mingaud's original: it was translated from French into English and published by the London billiard table manufacturer, John Thurston, who also had engraved plates prepared from the lithographic originals. In the preface, Thurston vouches for Mingaud's assertion that he had come up with "the most brilliant discoveries of modern times ... Fully impressed with the great merits of M. Mingaud's Illustrations, the Translator has felt anxious to lay them before the British Public. He is aware that, to the novice, many of the strokes in the work, may appear impracticable. He has, however, not only had the satisfaction of seeing them performed on his own tables, at his Ware-rooms ... by M. Mingaud himself; but has been surprised to perceive, how readily the results have followed, when attempted, according to the rules laid down, by gentlemen who boasted no superiority of skill." The popularity of Mingaud's work in England can be judged from the fact that it was re-issued in 1831, a second edition was published in 1833 and a third in 1836: all are now rare (there is only one other record of the present edition having sold at auction in the past thirty five years).
Abbey, Life 391.