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Gaston (1331-1391), comte de Foix and vicomte de Béarn, surnamed Phébus on account of his almost divine beauty, was a noted soldier and courtier under Charles V and Charles VI. He was also a passionate huntsman, and is said to have owned 1600 hounds and 200 horses.

His magnum opus is divided into 85 chapters, describing deer, hare, bear, boar, and other quarries, hounds, and their training and care, the training of grooms and huntsmen, and the different ways of hunting various kinds of game. It was completed in 1389, and was first printed in Paris by Antoine Vérard in 1507.

The 55 delightful illustrations appear to be the work of three artists and include landscape scenes, studies of hounds and various prey and huntsmen, weapons, training and preparations.

The added material provides fascinating evidence of the possession and use of the manuscript in hunting establishments through the 17th and 18nth centuries.

It includes advice on warming hounds’ paws, how to catch carp, how to remove thorns, suitable names for dogs and bitches, and cures for various canine ailments (including ear-ache).