[ASTLEY, John].

The Art of Riding set foorth in a breefe treatise.


The Art of Riding set foorth in a breefe treatise.
[With] CORTE, Claudio. The Art of Riding, translated by Thomas Bedingfield.
London, Henry Denham, 1584.

In stock

The Art of Riding set foorth in a breefe treatise.


The exceedingly rare first edition of one of the earliest English treatises on horsemanship, derived in part from Xenophon, Federico Grisone’s Ordini di cavalcare, and other authors, and in part from Astley’s own experience. This is, in fact, the first translation into English of Xenophon’s treatise Peri hippikes (On horsemanship). The publication of Astley’s Art of Riding, perhaps his single most lasting achievement, came late in his life as an Elizabethan courtier. Here, he relays the doctrine of the Italian riding schools as he and other Gentleman Pensioners understood it, particularly on training the horse to respond to the hand. Astley was on friendly terms with Thomas Blundeville, whose Grisone translation two decades earlier counts as the first treatise on horsemanship to be published in English.
Although distinct in collation, the two works were originally issued together, as here.


2 works in one volume. 4to (177 x 129mm). Woodcut illustrations in the text, 4 full-page, head- and tailpieces and initials, (closely trimmed at top margin touching a few titles, occasional light spotting and staining.) Contemporary calf, gilt title to spine (19th-century repair preserving the original spine). Modern cloth box.

Provenance: John Shaw Darlington (inscription to fly leaf); early manuscript annotations.


Dejager 38 & 82; STC 884 & 5797.


Stock ID: 96484