Venery or its alternate wording fox (or stag or boar) hunting is a sport without competition, practiced by the gentry. It is neither an art nor a science and nevertheless the book published in 1561 by Jaques du Fouilloux has all the qualities and the rigor of a scientific treatise.
La Vénerie by Du Fouilloux is structured in a logical and consistent sequence of 63 chapters accompanied by explanatory illustrations.
The success of hunting depends on the skill of the veneur (the huntsman) to communicate with the hounds, to lead his horse, to know the behaviors and even the tricks of the hunted animals. This book provides detailed informations and recommendations by the author who had unquestionably a full control of his subject.
The reader first learns the qualities of different varieties of dogs and how to choose the "lyce", meaning the female dog selected from the pack for breeding, and how to optimize the training of her pups. The next sections detail the hunting strategies for stag and wild boar and, more briefly, for hare, fox and badger. An addendum included from the first edition tells how to cure the dogs from their diseases.
A few places within the book are reserved for pasting a separately printed musical transcription of the hunting tones, also including the "huchement" of the shepherdesses, a French term now fallen in oblivion which designated the song emitted to call the animals.
Venery was favored at the time of King Charles IX and the book of Du Fouilloux got the success that it deserved. Four and a half centuries later it remains the perfect model for hunting treaties.
A copy of the first edition in small folio size 27 x 20 cm is estimated € 100K for sale by Sotheby's in Paris on October 5, lot 71.
SOLD for € 267K including premium