Bentley Lyonel John Tollemache by Crowther Smith

M: Tollemache

Lord Tollemache has only recently discarded the mallet depicted in the caricature for a “Corbally”. Judging by his form this season the change was more than justified

M for the mallet by Tollemache wielded

There's a rumour that once it a quintuple “peel” did


Bentley Lyonel John Tollemache, 3rd Baron Tollemache (1883-1955). Ranked 41 in 1919 his best season seems to have been 1934. Prichard1 writes: "His aim directly he took up the game was to master it both in theory and practice. Although not naturally a gifted player, he succeeded by sheer hard work and a determination that every stroke he played should be tactically correct and technically perfect. In 1912 he set himself the target of playing in a tournament every week of the season and the reward was a place in the Champion Cup for the next two years. This was his peak, although more than twenty years later he had an Indian summer, reaching the final of the Open Championship and once again earning selection for the Champion Cup. Even after the Second War he was still a formidable player.

In 1914 he published what is perhaps the most ambitious book ever written on the game, entitled simply Croquet. Phrased in a characteristically authoritative tone, it is not without faults and fallacies; the grammar and even the spelling is execrable and double exclamation marks abound as in effect they did in his conversation.... for the sheer mechanics of stroke production the book is unrivalled, being lavishly illustrated with nearly a hundred photographs of himself performing every imaginable stroke on his own lawn with the embattled walls of Peckforton Castle 2. Dogmatic, assertive, intolerant and completely uninhibited, his presence electrified the atmosphere and for a full forty-five years he never relaxed his efforts to dominate and instruct. Those ready to learn from him on his terms never had reason to regret it. "

Whatman board 188 x 272 mm with paper strips on the R (5 – 15 mm) and top (5mm), otherwise clear apart from the label 2524 (title 4 - 1). No obvious pinpricks but the corners a a little rubbed. Very light foxing on the image at top and R, with some pressure marks on the image.



1The History of Croquet, Col D M C Prichard, London, 1981

2About 15 km SE of Chester, built 1851. The Tollemache family owned vast tracts of land though Bentley was the last family member to live there, moving to Eastbourne in 1939.

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