The hunting logbooks of Sir Édouard Lagasse de Locht

In 2016, the King Baudouin Foundation received twenty-two hunting logbooks that kept by Sir Édouard Lagasse de Locht. His great-nephews wanted to ensure their preservation and share the unique testimonies in the notebooks of the traditional practice of hunting with hounds.

They are a unique testimony to hunting with hounds in Belgium. The author tells of, and illustrates in drawings and watercolours, the hunts in which he participated between 1925 and 1955 in the Limburg Campine region.

In 1908, Édouard Lagasse de Locht (1880-1955), who was born in Brussels, went to live in Maastricht. Having trained as a civil engineer, he was put in charge of the development of the local tram network. His offices were in Lanaken, where he soon became a member of the local hunting and horse-riding circles. He was an excellent horseman, very knowledgeable about horses and he played the horn, so he easily integrated into the local community. In 1909, he married Marie-Anne Schoenmaeckers in Rekem.  Together, they transformed a run-down hunting lodge into a magnificent property, which they named « La Butte-aux-Bois » (the Wooden Butt). 

The hunting logbooks cover two periods. The first, from 1925 to 1933, tells of the Rallye Vielsalm, during the prosperous inter-war period, whilst the second concerns the Rallye Campine from 1951 to 1955. The latter was a hunting club that Edouard Lagasse de Locht helped re-constitute  and of which he was a member until his death in 1955.

In addition to a description of the conduct of each outing with the pack of hounds, and numerous anecdotes, the logbooks give descriptions of the autumn and winter countryside. Edouard Lagasse de Locht evokes and illustrates country houses and châteaux that have since been destroyed, sold or re-developed.  The notebooks provide a unique and poetic testimony to a tradition that has now been abandoned in Belgium. 

The collection of hunting logbooks has now been entrusted to the Bibliotheca Wittockiana.