Battledore & Shuttlecock Anonymous 1616 depiction from a 17thC German “Friendship Book." Love the garden.
1620-26 Adriaen van de Venne Two Women Playing Battledore and Shuttlecock
It probably developed in ancient Greece & Rome, moving from there east to China, Japan, & India, and north to France & England.
17th-century French Print Jeu de Volant
Pierre-Antoine Quillard (1700-1733) Elegant Figures Playing Shuttlecock in a Park
It is reported that the sport was sometimes called shuttlefeather, although I cannot find reference to this in the Oxford English Dictionary.
1610 England. (Probably by a Flemish Artist at the English Court) Boy, about 3 years old, Holding Battledore and Shuttlecock.
Daniel Chodowiecki (1726–1801) Battledore and Shuttlecock Indoors 1774
Giuseppe Zocchi (Italian, c. 1716-1767), Battledore and Shuttlecock
Players used a paddle, called a battledore, to keep a cork stuffed with feathers, called a shuttlecock, in the air for as long as possible. The battledore was a small, lightweight racket made of parchment or rows of gut stretched across wooden frames. Battledore was originally the name given to a wooden bat used for beating clothes during washing in England.
Frances Delaval (1759–1839), (Later Mrs Fenton), with Her Sister, Sarah Delaval (1763–1800), (Later Countess of Tyrconnel), Shuttlecock and Battledore in an Interior by William Bell 1771
Because the shuttlecock was a feathered projectile, its inherent aerodynamic properties made it fly through the air differently than the more ordinary balls used in most racquet sports. The feathers created higher drag, causing the shuttlecock to decelerate more rapidly than a ball. On the other hand, shuttlecocks had a higher top speed compared to balls in similar racquet sports, so shuttlecocks could be a little tricky to control.
1740 France. Jean-Baptiste-Simeion Chardin (1699-1779). Young Girl with Battledore and Shuttlecock.
Since shuttlecock flight could usually affected by wind (because of its lightness), the game was sometimes played indoors. It was usually played outdoors during warm weather as a casual recreational activity, often in private & commercial pleasure gardens.
By the 16th century, it had become widely popular among children in England. In Europe this racquet sport was known as Jeu de Volant and was popular with the upper classes. Battledore and shuttlecock was not a competitive sport.
Battledore and Shuttlecock Fireplace or wall tile by John Sadler, Liverpool, 1757-1761
Probably the most intriguing aspect of the game was that it was a cooperative sport with the players trying to see how long they could keep the shuttlecock in the air. It did not pit player against player, a rather refreshing concept in the 21C. The game was usually played by children, families, and young adults during the 18C.
Battledore & Shuttlecock A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, Intended for the Instruction and Amusement of Little Master Tommy, and Pretty Miss Poll” by Isaiah Thomas, Worcester, Massachusetts 1787
Battledore and Shuttlecock Enamel on copper box 1760-75
Battledore & Shuttlecock Portrait of a Boy, c.1758-1760, by John Singleton Copley
Battledore & Shuttlecock John Donnelly at 9 years old, Blackwater Town, a small village in the townland of Lisbofin, County Armagh, Northern Ireland.
Nathaniel Parr (1723–1751) After Francis Hayman, (1707/8–1776 Indoor Battledore and Shuttlecock. played indoors often produced predictable havoc with indoor furnishings and decorative objects. Indoor games did not often use a net, but they became more aggressive in the later part of the century.
Battledore and Shuttlecock 1780-1800, English Printed Textile
Jane Austen played the game with her nephews. In 1808, she wrote, "Yesterday was a very quiet day with us; my noisiest efforts were writing to Frank, and playing at battledore and shuttlecock with William; he and I have practised together two mornings, and improve a little; we have frequently kept it up three times, and once or twice six." In the 1840s, Charlotte Bronte wrote in Jane Eyre, "But I stayed out a few minutes longer with Adele and Pilot—ran a race with her, and played a game of battledore and shuttlecock."
Published by Aaron Martinet A fashionable couple play badminton with a shuttlecock, watched by a couple and a man drinking at a tavern table. c.1802