Hawthorn Fly Fishing & Angling Collection

Angling in British art through five centuries : prints, pictures, books Sparrow, Walter Shaw, 1862-1940 1923

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  CJ)os. §rags|)afo.
THE UNIVERSITY OF
BRITISH COLUMBIA
WOODWARD HISTORICAL
COLLECTION THE LIBRARY
THE UNIVERSITY OF
BRITISH COLUMBIA THE LIBRARY
THE UNIVERSITY OF
BRITISH COLUMBIA
Harry Hawthorn Foundation
tor the
Inculcation & Propagation
of the Principles & Ethics
of Fly-Fishing 1 jjiJjljjiiliKiv:; j^r&i—ir^,^
L ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART I
BY   THE   SAME   AUTHOR
BRITISH SPORTING ARTISTS.
With an Introduction by Sir Theodore
Cook. Illustrated in Colour and Black
and White.    Demy 4to.
PRINTS AND DRAWINGS BY
FRANK BRANGWYN, with
SOME OTHER  PHASES OF HIS ART.
Illustrated  in   Colour   and    Black  and
White.    Demy 4to.
THE FIFTH ARMY IN
MARCH,   1918.
With an Introduction by Gen. Sir
Hubert Gough. Illustrated with Maps.
Demy 8vo.
A  BOOK  OF BRIDGES.
Illustrations in Colour by Frank Brang-
wyn, R.A.    Crown 4to.
THE  BODLEY  HEAD J\ *L ANGLING IN BRITISH ART
THROUGH FIVE CENTURIES: PRINTS, PICTURES, BOOKS
By WALTER   SHAW   SPARROW
WITH A FOREWORD BY H. T. SHERINGHAM
AND TWO HUNDRED ILLUSTRATIONS, INCLUDING
THIRTY-NINE  IN  COLOUR * * * *
LONDON :  JOHN LANE THE  BODLEY HEAD LIMITED MfKffl^^^iirMrP
First published in 1923.
MADE AND  PRINTED  IN GREAT  BRITAIN  BY WILLIAM
LONDON  AND BECCLES
3 AND  SONS,  LIMITED
1^
miHHi FOREWORD
FROM AN OPEN LETTER TO THE AUTHOR
—Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific—and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
This is a wonderful world. The older it gets the more new things do we
discover in it, or, perhaps I should say, the more new things are there open to
" our discovery if our eyes are open also. As a rule, of course, there are mists
about all our ways, and the clear light of amazement cannot always break
through.
But when it does there is matter for rejoicing. I suppose that I may claim
to have travelled in the realms of gold, following the river valleys, as much as
most people of our generation, and to have studied one aspect of their life,
the piscatory, more closely than a good many other voyagers, while 1 have
written verbose impressions of my travels here and there for many years.
There was, 1 should have said, nothing de repiscatorta which could come to me
as a complete surprise. A new record from time to time, some such discovery,
for instance, as that the Aztecs anticipated Mr. G. E. M. Skues in the " minor
tactics " revelation, or that the spring salmon started on its 150 mile journey
up-stream nine months before it was necessary to do so simply because at
some earlier geological epoch its ancestors had a journey of 1,500 miles to
perform—anything of this kind would give me great pleasure and some
7 r
vi FOREWORD
excitement, but it would not astonish me into speechlessness. These things
are the ordinary rewards of research inspired by speculation.
When it comes, however, to a sudden realization that there is a very
important general aspect of the sport of angling which was awaiting a discoverer
1 must own to feeling as did Keats when he first looked into Chapman's
Homer. But there is a shade to my sensations which did not darken the
brightness of his.   There was no need for him to feel ashamed !
You ask : Have I, and the rest of us who have written about angling as
a branch of human activity with its roots in culture as well as in hunger,
I believed that the graphic and pictorial arts, since 1496, have had only one
good thing to do for [our] sport, namely, to adorn books on fishing with
prints and plates ? I
What can 1 reply, save " Alas, and Alack! " ? And my tone must be the
more doleful because 1 have had absolutely no excuse. In my humble,
uninstructed way I have from my youth up loved pictures and drawings as an
essential part of life. Concurrently I have loved fishing as another essential
part of life. But it has never till now been revealed to me that men like
Crome, De Wint, Cotman, or David Cox—to name a few who inspire my
special veneration—are really as important in the true history of angling as
men like Scrope or Andrew Lang.
You are, of course, absolutely right in your diagnosis of the myopy which
has afflicted me and the rest of us. We have been hampered by the conventional notion that | angling in art " must show the jungle-cock in exactly
the right place in the salmon fly's wing as the fisherman drops it precisely
on yon side the stream. Moreover " she " must not be too " drumly " for
the fly, and the salmon which leaps in the middle distance must not have
more than eleven scales " counting from the posterior margin of the adipose
fin to the medial line in an oblique series forwards."
If by some mischance a figure by some waterside carries an object which
looks more like a punt-pole than a fly-rod we have dismissed it from our
angling meditations. The fact that the painter has given us the secret of
one of God's own days in one of His own valleys in Eden has
somehow failed to reach our souls. That punt-pole, which really, when
one comes to look closer, is probably a hay-rake, has removed the picture FOREWORD vii
from our world altogether.    For the function of painting is  illustration
not revelation !
******
I have just been standing in the middle of my drawing-room looking at its
walls in the light cast upon them by your book. There hang there, I find,
forty-one pictures. Of these twenty-four are oil-paintings and seventeen are
water-colours. Ten out of the total are decorative studies or portraits. All
the rest, thirty-one in number, are landscape work, actual or idealized, and in
twenty-two of these the prominent feature is zoater. Water, it seems almost
necessary to state (in a confession like this), is the element in which fishes live,
and from which we anglers endeavour to extract them. For us, at any rate,
Pindar's " apia-Tov //,e/ vScop" is an abiding truth. Water is the first and best
of things in piscatory affairs. And it does not now matter whether it be salt
or fresh. In these days we have come to appreciate the fact that the bass is
nearly as good a fighter as the salmon, that the mullet has as massive a brain
as the carp, that the whiting or pouting will bite as fast as the roach. So
water is our element wherever found. And any picture which reproduces
it, whether the painter had fishing in mind or no, must inevitably make an
angler who studies it come sooner or later to the thought of fish.
Let me go a step further than this. Having analysed the liquid capacity
of those thirty-one pictures, I looked carefully at the nine which seemed to
have none. One shows an old seventeenth-century garden in all its sumptuous
formality of rectangles, statuary, box edging, and so on. It is the sort of
garden in which our ancestors aired silk attire—in fact, some of them are doing
so in the painting. At its northern end (it must have observed the compass
tradition in its disposition) there is an ornate fountain. This in itself would
not constitute liquid capacity, so I have not included the picture among the
water-scapes. But, now I come to think of it, I have never looked at that
lovely old garden without wondering where the fish ponds were, and fondly
imagining that it might be part of the identical demesne for which the Hon.
Roger North composed A Discourse of Fish and Fish Ponds in the year 1713.
Of the remaining eight pictures, one shows an old French chateau, which
always makes me think of The Three Musqueteers, and the others are pure
landscape—woodland, mountain, or down.   There is no water visible in any
b
J r
w<mm
viii FOREWORD
of them, but I now realize that, except the chateau, there is not one of them
which does not carry my imagination on to some piece of water which lies
beyond, to some rippling trout stream, wind-ruffled tarn, reed-lined broad,
or sluggish river where the chub lie out in the sun.
It comes to this, that of thirty-one pictures there is only one which is not
in some sense to me a fishing picture. And at the same time there are only
two which have any definite fishing intention, sea-scapes which show fishing
boats ashore or afloat and fishermen with nets and catch. I possess a few
" fishing pictures," strictly so to be called, but, as I am fortunate enough
to be married, they are hung elsewhere and not in this particular room.
This, as I have said, is a confession, so I must hasten to disclaim any
natural clearness of vision in this matter. It was not till I read the page-proofs
of your book that I began to think about it, and after a course of thinking
came to realize how true is that excellent saying of yours : " To know when to
leave out the act of fishing is among the many problems which artist-anglers
study." It really puts the whole thing in a nutshell. The " act of angling "
is by no means an essential in an " angling picture." And, as I have also
learnt, it is not necessary even to show the place where that act will be
performed. The primrose path beside the spinney leads to that place.
Why, even Waterloo Station on a fresh May morning . . . but perhaps
repentance sometimes leads the convert too far !
One of the best-remembered thrills in my fishing life was my first sight
of the trophy on which you touch—J. W. M. Turner's fishing-rod. The
thought of it, and the memory of that great master's love of fishing, bring me
to the technical aspect of your book. You have, besides giving me that new
insight into art's relation in general to the sport, surprised me very greatly
by the wealth of evidence which you have collected as to the relation in
particular. I ought, I suppose, to have known—perhaps, dimly, I did have
an inkling—that the brush and the pencil have busied themselves a good deal
with various aspects of fishery ; as a student of fishing books I have naturally
come across and studied many illustrations in the different periods.
But I had no idea what a great number of painters and draughtsmen could
be definitely claimed by the angling fraternity as sealed of its own tribe, either
because they actually fished or because they dealt with the sport with sympathy FOREWORD ix
and understanding, recording fact as well as atmosphere. The gallery which
you have filled so convincingly is an edifice of unexpected dimensions. And
you make me feel that it is very much more than a mere annexe to the fisherman's library. It has its own separate and independent importance in regard
to the evolution of fishing. And our previous neglect of it merits all the
harsh things which you might, but kindly do not, say.
As for what you do say—this is not a review, or an appreciation, or an
introduction, or any ambitious thing of the kind. It is merely a statement of
the effect of your book on a reader who 1 thought he knew something about
it! " The shock has been considerable, but it is the sort of shock which is
uncommonly good for one, and I should like to conclude this letter with a
hearty    Thank you very much."
H. T. Sheringham.
Unsuccessful Sportsman 1 CONTENTS
FOREWORD  v
PREPARATORY
How to Begin and how to End 3
CHAPTER  I
A Walton in Water-Colour : the late Ernest Briggs, R.I..       .       .     25
CHAPTER II
The Land-and-Sea Painters in their Relation to Angling.       .       .     41
CHAPTER III
From John S. Sargent, R.A., to John Leech  58
CHAPTER IV
From James Inskipp to John S. Cotman and J. M. W. Turner     .      .     94
CHAPTER V
From Robert Pollard to Sir Robert Frankland   .       .       .       •       .122
CHAPTER VI
Some New Light on the Alken Family 146
CHAPTER VII
Some Books by Artist-Anglers i55
CHAPTER VIII
From Morland to the Seventeenth Century 175 ffiSHiiMlMi
xii CONTENTS
CHAPTER IX
Some of Walton's Contemporaries 200
CHAPTER X
Walton as an Artist in Language 218
CHAPTER XI
Dame Barnes or Bernes and "The Boke of St. Albans"      .       .       .   240
CHAPTER XII
The Treatise on Fishing with an Angle 250
Index, and Bibliography, and some Artists Unnamed in the Chapters   271
f\
Mk
■H!!li!i!!!!i!!!!l!!!i!BI|iii CONTRIBUTORS  OF PICTURES,  PRINTS, AND
INFORMATION
TO  WHOM GRATEFUL THANKS ARE  RETURNED  BY THE  AUTHOR
ALPHABETICAL LIST
Messrs. Arthur Ackermann & Son.
Messrs. Thomas Agnew & Sons.
Edwin Alexander, Esq., R.S.A.
Major-General Sir George Aston.
The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
Arthur Batchelor, Esq.
C. R. Bates, Esq.
F. A. C. Bathurst, Esq.
The Duke and Duchess of Beaufort.
B. B. Bellew, Esq.
B. H. Bennett, Esq.
Laurence Binyon, Esq.
S. J. Lamorna Birch, Esq.
David C. Bolton, Esq.
Messrs. Bradbury, Agnew & Co.
Mrs. Ernest E. Briggs.
T. C F. Brotchie, Esq.
J. A. Arnesby Brown, Esq., R.A.
W. G. Burn-Murdoch, Esq.
D. Y. Cameron, Esq., R.A.
James L. Caw, Esq.
Messrs. Christie, Manson & Wood.
Messrs. P. and D. Colnaghi.
Sir Theodore A. Cook.
General Cowie.
The Curators of many Provincial Art Galleries
Messrs. J. M. Dent & Sons.
The Duke of Devonshire.
Messrs. Henry Dixon & Son.
E. T. Tyrwhitt Drake, Esq.
C. H. Lloyd Edwards, Esq.
Lionel Edwards, Esq.
H. L. Ehrich, Esq.
Colin D. B. Ellis, Esq.
Jack G. Ellis, Esq.
Messrs. Ellis & Smith.
W. F. Embleton, Esq.
Miss E. Endicott.
A. J. Finberg, Esq.
The Lord Forester.
Hon. E. Forester.
Messrs. Fores.
Sir F. Frankland, Bart.
G. M. Fraser, Esq.
Dame Katharine Furse.
Ewan Geddes, Esq., R.S.W.
Arthur N. Gilbey, Esq.
Messrs. Gooden & Fox.
Richard "W. Goulding, Esq.
Sir Guy Graham, Bart.
R. Neville Grenville, Esq.
C. Reginald Grundy, Esq.
J. Maule Guthrie, Esq., M.P.
Martin Hardie, Esq., R.E.
Harold B. Harrison, Esq.
A. S. Hartrick, Esq.
Professor Arthur M. Hind.
Sir Charles J. Holmes.
The Lord Hylton.
Professor Selwyn Image.
Harry Keevil, Esq.
Messrs. Knoedler.
John Lane, Esq.
Sir John Lavery, R.A.
J CONTRIBUTORS   OF   PICTURES,    ETC.
xiv
Messrs. Longmans, Green & Co.
William D. McKay, Esq.
Sir Frederick Macmillan.
Mrs. Katharine MacWhirter.
Major Oswald Magniac.
Mrs. E. Malcolm.
Messrs. W. A. Mansell & Son.
Walter Marchant, Esq.
The Earl of March.
Sir Herbert Maxwell, Bart.
F. C G. Menzies, Esq.
Mrs. Coutts Michie, C.B.E.
Miss Millais.
John Murray, Esq.
A. T. Nowell, Esq., R.I.
F. S. Oliver, Esq.
The Earl of Onslow.
Messrs. Pawsey & Payne.
Sir John F. Payne Gallwey, Bart.
Sir Arthur W. Pinero.
The Duke of Portland.
The Print Room, The British Musei
The Proprietors of "Punch."
Arthur G. Quigley, Esq.
Hugh Radcliffe-Wilson, Esq.
Pandeli Ralli, Esq.
John R. Reid, Esq., R.I.
Frank Reynolds, Esq.
Messrs. James Rimell & Son.
Dr. James Ritchie.
Messrs. Robson & Co.
The Duke of Rutland.
Messrs. Sabin.
Frank Sale, Esq.
C. F. G. R. Schwerdt, Esq.
Hugh T. Sheringham, Esq.
J. Shirley-Fox, Esq.
Mrs. Charles Sims.
The Earl Spencer.
Walter T. Spencer, Esq.
M. H. Spielmann, Esq.
Rev. W. J. Street.
E. J. Sullivan, Esq.
The Duke of Sutherland.
A. Chevallier Tayler, Esq.
J. B. Taylor, Esq.
Sir A. G. Temple.
D. Croal Thomson, Esq.
Messrs. Arthur Tooth & So
H. S. Tuke, Esq., R.A.
Sir Whitworth Wallis.
William Walls, Esq., R.S.A.
Frank Webb, Esq.
Norman Wilkinson, Esq.
B. W. Willett, Esq.
Sir Robert and Lady Witt,
Reginald W. M. Wright, E
R.I. LIST OF  ILLUSTRATIONS
THIRTY-NINE PLATES  IN COLOUR
Tofacefase
JOHN  S.   SARGENT,  R.A.—Sketch Portrait of a Young Salmon-Fisher, Alec McCulloch.—Painted in
Norway, about Twenty Years Ago.   Reproduced by permission of Alec McCulloch, Esq.     .       Frontispiece
A. T. NOWELL, R.I.—The Late Ernest Briggs, R.I., Angling at Luib.—From a Water-Colour in the
Collection of Mrs. Briggs 8
WILLIAM WALLS, R.S.A.—Trout and Eels on a Bankside.—.Ww/2 an Oil-Colour painted in 1915   .       . 16
ERNEST BRIGGS, R.I., 1866-1913.—Salmon Fishing on the Faskally Water.—From a Water- Colour1    . 24
ERNEST BRIGGS, R.I.—Trout Fishing in Galloway.—From a Water-Colour  28
ERNEST BRIGGS, R.I.—The Gentle Art.—From a Water-Colour  32
ERNEST BRIGGS. R.I.—McNaughton of Luib, Perthshire, on the Double Bend Pool.—From a Water-
Colour      36
JAMES  CLARKE   HOOK,   R.A.,   1819-1907.— A  Wily Angler Watching his   Red  Float.—From an
Oil-Painting in the Pandeli Ralli Collection 48
NORMAN WILKINSON, O.B.E., R.O.I., R.I.—Fly-Fishing, the Intake Pool,   River Spey.—Half-page
Plate, from a Water-Colour 52
NORMAN WILKINSON, O.B.E., R.O.I., R.I.—Fly-Fishing, the Disputed Pool, River Awe.—Half-page
Plate,from a Water-Colour 52
JOHN S. SARGENT, R.A.—A Study of Salmon in Norway.—Painted about Twenty Years Ago, in perhaps
an hour.   Reproduced by permission of Alec McCulloch, Esq 58
S. J. LAMORNA BIRCH.—Fly-Fishing at Lamorna, Cornwall, in Early Spring, 1923.—From an Oil-Sketch
painted expressly for this book 72
JOHN FREDERICK LEWIS, R.A., 1805-1876.—Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A.,  in the Act of Angling.—
From a Water-Colour in the Arthur N. Cilbey Collection 88
JAMES INSKIPP,  1790-1868.—Angling, Old Age, and Youth.—From a Lithograph in Colour by fames W.
Giles, R.S.A., 1801-1870.    From a Print lent by Walter T. Spencer, London 94
NEWTON   FIELDING,   1799-1856.—Salmon Fishing.—From a Proof Aquatint by the Painter; lent by
Messrs. Ellis &■ Smith, London 96
NEWTON FIELDING, 1799-1856.—Salmon Fishing: Refreshment.—From a Proof Aquatint by the Painter;
lent by Messrs. Ellis & Smith 97
WILLIAM BARRAUD, 1810-1850.—Three Anglers at the Bend of a Stream.—From an Oil-Painting in
the Arthur N. Gilbey Collection i°5
EDWARD WILLIAMS, 1782-1855—Perch Fishing.—From an Oil-Painting.     By permission of Messrs.
Ackermann, London I0°
1 The four plates after Ernest Briggs are printed from the Original Blocks by pe
by Ernest xvi PLATES   IN   COLOUR
Tojactfage
JOHN  SELL COTMAN, 1782-1842.—Evening:  Boys Fishing.—From an  Oil-Painting in the Russell
Colman Collection n4
ROBERT POLLARD, 1755-1838.—The Contemplative Boy's Recreation.—Half-page Plate, from a Coloured
Print designed and engraved by R. Pollard        .     128
DAVID COX, 1783-1859.—Fly-Fishing on the Wye at Haddon Hall.—Half-page Plate, from a Coloured
Engraving by E. Radcliffe 128
THOMAS ROWLANDSON, 1756-1827.—Anglers near a Water-Mill.—From a Water-Colour in the Arthur
N. Gilbey Collection 136
SIR  ROBERT  FRANKLAND-RUSSELL,   BART.,   1784-1849.—Some Mishaps in the  Pleasures of
Angling.—From a Proof Aquatint by Charles Turner, A.R.A.; lent by James Rimell 6» Son, London      .    137
HENRY ALKEN,   1785-1851.—Pike Fishing.—Half-page  Plate, from a   Water-Colour in   the Oswald
Magniac Collection J4°
HENRY  ALKEN, 1785-1851.—Salmon Fishing.—Half-page Plate, from a Water-Colour in the Oswald
Magniac Collection x4°
WILLIAM JONES, FL.     EARLY  YEARS OF QUEEN VICTORIA'S LIFE.—An  Angling Nook,
perhaps on Colne Brook, West Drayton.—From an Oil-Painting in the Arthur N. Gilbey Collection .       .    166
HENRY BUNBURY, 1750-1811.—Anglers of 1611.—Half-page Plate, from a  Coloured Engraving by
Thomas Rowlandson ; lent by W. T. Spencer 168
ANONYMOUS.—Scottish Salmon Spearing, or Burning the Water.—Half-page Plate, from a scarce Lithograph, partly hand-painted; lent by Dr. James Ritchie 168
EDWARD BARNARD (?), DIED 1861, HIS 76TH YEAR.—Taking a Fly.—Half-page Plate, from an
Aquatint, lent by James Rimell & Son 169
T.  C.  HOFLAND, 1777-1843.—Trout  Fishing  in Loch Awe.-Half-page Plate, from an Aquatint by
T. A. Prior y      .       .        .        .        .       .        .169
S. ALKEN, PERHAPS   SAMUEL ALKEN, JUNIOR, 1784-^. 1823.—Riverside Landscape,  with an
Angler.—From an Oil-Painting, signed S. Aiken, in the Arthur N. Gilbey Collection        .        .        .        .170
THOMAS ROWLANDSON, 1756-1827.—A Snug Angling Party.—Half page Plate, from a Coloured Print
lent by W.T.Spencer, Londoi.       .       .       .       f      .       .       ....       .        .        .        .    174
SIR ROBERT FRANKLAND-RUSSELL, BART.,  i784-l849.-One of the Lesser Joys of Angling.—
Half-page Plate, from an Aquatint by Charles Turner, A.R.A. ; lent by B. H. Be?mett, Esq.     .        .        .174
JOHN ZOFFANY, R.A., 1735-1810.—Mr. and Mrs. Burke of Carshalton.—From an Oil-Painting in the
Collection of Mrs. Spencer PerHval 176
JOHN ZOFFANY, R.A., 1735-1810.—Master James Sayer, at the Age of Thirteen, Angling in a Woodland
Stream.—From an Oil-Painting in the Collection of Lady Sayer 193
THOMAS SMITH OF DERBY (?), DIED 1769.—Angler of George the Second's Reign.—Half-page Plate,
from a Water-Colour Sketch in the Oswald Magniac Collection 198
ANONYMOUS.—A Riverside with Anglers.—Half-page Plate, from an Early Water-Colour in the Oswald
Magniac Collection jog
WILLIAM HOGARTH, 1697-1764.—The Pascall Family, with Mr. Pascall in the Act of Angling.—From
an Otl-Pamhng.  By permission of D. Croat Thomson, Esq         .       .200
ANONYMOUS, i6th CENTURY.-Portrait of Dr. Alexander Nowel in the Hall of Brasenose College,
Otfot&.-From a Proof-Engraving, published by Thomas Gosden, and lent by F. R. Meatyard, London     .    236
&	
MHMWMMH LIST   OF   ILLUSTRATIONS xvii
TWENTY-EIGHT LINE BLOCKS IN  THE TEXT
Page
FRANK REYNOLDS.—No Bites, and No Mascot.—By permission of the Proprietors of " Punch "     .       . ix
EDMUND H. NEW.—Carp  xii
THE LATE HUGH THOMSON.—"I care not, I, to fish in Seas"—Illustration to Walton's "Angler's
Song."   By permission of Sir Frederick Macmillan  i
EDMUND H. NEW.—Statue of Izaak Walton on the Great Screen at Winchester Cathedral      ... 24
EDMUND H. NEW.—Trout  40
EDMUND H. NEW.—Pike rising to take a Small Fish l  57
LIONEL EDWARDS.—Dry Fly-Fishing, 1923  71
J.  SHIRLEY-FOX.—Silhouette of Active Angling.—From "Angling Adventures  of an  Artist."
By J. Shirley-Fox, London, John Murray, 1923  83
EDMUND J.   SULLIVAN,  1895.—"Go Yourself so Far from the Waterside."—Illustration to "The
Compleat Angler."   By permission of Messrs. J. M. Dent & Co  84
GEORGE LOUIS  PALMELLA  BUSSON DU MAURIER, 1831-1896.—Encouraging Prospect.—By
permission of the Proprietors of"Punch"  88
CHARLES KEENE, 1823-1891.—" In Flagrante."—By permission of the Proprietors of "Punch"   .       . 89
CHARLES KEENE.—Extraordinary take of Twin Salmon  90
CHARLES KEENE.—There's many a IXfa.—By permission of the Proprietors of " Punch".       ... 91
EDMUND H. NEW.—A Pike on the Prowl  93
EDMUND H. NEW.—Salmon  121
W.  HEATH  ROBINSON.—From "The Spodnoodle Papers," 1923.—Mr. Spodnoodle and a friend
hook and land the same fish, and quarrel.—Reprinted by permission of " The Daily News" .       .       . 145
W. HEATH ROBINSON.— From "The Spodnoodle Papers," 1923.—Mr. Spodnoodle and his friend divide
the fish unequally, and return home, joyous with the spirit of compromise, a venerable British champagne 154
VAUGHAN, 17TH CENTURY ENGRAVER.—Title Page of " The Experienced Angler," 1662, by
Colonel Robert Venables, showing Two Rods, a Creel, some Casts, a Pirn or Reel, and some other
EDMUND H. NEW.—Salmon Trout  217
THE LATE HUGH THOMSON.—Illustration to Walton's "Angler's Song"  218
THE LATE HUGH THOMSON.—Illustration to Walton's " Angler's Song "  219
THE LATE HUGH THOMSON.—Illustration to Walton's " Angler's Song."— These line drawings are
reprinted with the original blocks, kindly lent by Sir Frederick Macmillan  221
EDMUND J. SULLIVAN.—"Use Him as Though you Loved Him!"    Baiting the Ledger-Hook with a
Live Frog.—From The Andrew Lang and E. J. Sullivan Edition of " The Compleat Angler," iSg6.
By permission of Messrs. J .M. Dent & Co  228
From "The Boke of St. Albans," 1496.— Fifteenth-Century Fishing rod  254
,-,                  „                  „                „       An Angler of the Fifteenth Century  256
f)                 I                 „               „       Fifteenth-Century Hooks  258
«                 „                 ,,               ,,       Fifteenth-Century Hooks and Lines  259
EDMUND H. NEW.—A Tailpiece  269
» The blocks after E. H. New are from The Bodley Head Edition of The Comfleat Angler, edited by Richard La Gallienne, new xviii LIST   OF   ILLUSTRATIONS
IN  BLACK AND WHITE
To fact page
J. H. AMSCHEWITZ.—Portrait of Frederic M. Halford, 1844-1914, Famous Authority on Dry Fly-Fishing.
—Painted in igoj.   From a Photograph lent by M. H. Spielmann, Esq 2
D. Y. CAMERON, R.A.—Hell's Hole on the River Tay.   A Noted Salmon Haunt, near Stanley, and close
by Stobhall, where John Bright fished.—From a Proof Etching 4
JAMES DOCHARTY, A.R.S.A.,  1829-1878.—A Salmon Stream.— From an Oil-Painting of 1878, in the
Glasgow Art Gallery 6
NORMAN WILKINSON, O.B.E., R.O.I., R.I.—A Spey Salmon Pool—From a Dry-Point Proof    .       .11
JOHN LEECH, 1817-1864.—Sketch in Water-Colour for a Woodcut published in " Punch," July 4th, 1863.
—By permission of Walter T. Spencer, London 13
THE YOUNGER WOLSTENHOLME, 1798-1883.—Anglers Fishing for Pike and Perch.—From an Oil-
Painting in the Arthur N. Gilbey Collection      15
B. W. LEADER, R.A., 1831-1923.—The River Llugwy at Bettws-y-Coed, 1904.—Half-page Print from an
Oil-Painting.   By permission of Arthur Tooth cV Sons 18
H. W. B. DAVIS, R. A., 1833-1914.—A Salmon Pool on the Wye.—Half-page Print, from an Oil-Painting
exhibited in igog at the Royal Academy.    By permission of Arthur Tooth & Sons 18
HAMILTON MACALLUM, 1841-1896.—Landing a Big Un..—Half-page Print, from an Oil-Painting of
1878.   Photograph by W. A. Mansell 6* Co 4°
WILLIAM McTAGGART, 1835-1910.—The  Little Anglers.—Half-page Print, from an Oil-Painting of
1876.   Photograph by W. H. Mansell & Co 4<>
DAVID FARQUHARSON, A.R.A., 1839-1907.—Angling in Scotland,  1879.—Half-page Print, from an
Oil-Painting.   By permission of D. Croat Thomson, Esq 41
HENRY MOORE, R.A., 1831-1895— Strath Fillan and the Dochart, Perthshire, with a Leaping Salmon.
—Half-page Print, from a Water-Colour dated 1877-1878.    Victoria and Albert Museum, London     .       .     41
H. S. TUKE, R. A.—A Summer Evening.—From an Oil-Painting exhibited at the R.A. in igoi.   Photograph
by W. A. Mansell & Co.   .. 42
J. M. W. TURNER, R.A., 1775-1851.—Bedford.—Half-page Print, from a Proof-Engraving by J. T.
Willmore, A.R.A., 1800-1863; lent by the Cotswold Gallery, London 44
J. M. W. TURNER, R.A.—Rievaulx Abbey, Yorkshire.—Half-page Print, from a Proof-Engraving by
E. Goodall; lent by the Cotswold Gallery, London 44
J. M. W. TURNER, R.A.—Llanberis Lake, North Wales.—Half page Print, from a Proof-Engraving by
J.T. Willmore, A.R.A.; lent by the Cotswold Gallery 45
J. M. W. TURNER, R.A.—Hampton Court Palace.—Half-page Print,from a " Touched" Proof-Engraving,
lent by the Cotswold Gallery 45
NORMAN WILKINSON, O.B.E., R.O.I., R.I.—Spring Fishing on the Spey.—From a Dry-Point Proof   .      56
JOHN S. SARGENT, R.A.—Portrait of a Young Salmon-Fisher, Alec McCulloch.—From an Oil-Painting,
SSi in. by g$\ in.   By permission of Mrs. Coutts Michie, C.B.E 60
CHARLES W. FURSE, A.R.A., 1868-1904.—Mr. and Mrs. F. S. Oliver Angling in Norway, about 1902.
—From an Oil-Painting in the F. S. Oliver Collection.   By permission of Dame Katharine Furse     .       .     64
ERSKINE   NICOL,   A.R.A.,   1825-1904.—" Steady, Johnnie,  Steady! "—From an  Oil-Painting.   By
permission of Mrs. Malcolm 65
RICHARD ANSDELL, R.A., 1815-1885.— Landing a Salmon.—From a Victorian Engraving;   a Proof
before all Letters 66
SIR GEORGE HARVEY, P.R.S.A., 1806-1876.—The Rev. Dr. Guthrie Angling on Loch Lee.—From an
Oil-Paiming in the Collection of J\ Maule Guthrie, Esq., M.P. 68
ARTHUR BATCHELOR.— After Wiltshire Grayling.—/? Half page Print, from an Oil-Sketch ...      70
JOHN MacWHIRTER, R.A., 1839-1911.—Over the Sea from Skye, with a Young Angler Resting.—
Half-page Print, from an Oil-Painting.   By permission of Mrs. MacWhirter.   Photograph by Hanfstaengl     70
JOHN R. REID, R.I.—Glen Ashdale, Arran : "At Noon the Fisher Seeks his Rest."-Half-pagePrint,
from an Otl-Pamtmg exhibited at the Royal Academy in igio.   Photograph by Henry Dixon &> Son .       .     75 LIST   OF   ILLUSTRATIONS xix
Tofacepage
JOHN MACWHIRTER, R.A., 1839-1911.—Loch Ness and Glen Morriston, with an Angler in the Distance.
Half-page Print, from an Oil-Painting.  By permission of Mrs. Mac Whirter.   Photograph by Hanfstaengl     75
SIR LAURENCE ALMA-TADEMA, O.M., R.A.,  1836-1912.—A Roman Lady Watching her Rod and
Line.—From an Oil-Painting.   By permission of D. Croat Thomson, Barbizon House, London ,       .       .     76
JOHN   A.   ARNESBY   BROWN,   R.A.—The  River,  with  Children Fishing.—From an  Oil-Painting
exhibited in igog at the Royal Academy.   Photograph by H. Dixon <&* Son 77
JOHN   MAC WHIRTER,   R.A.,   1839-1911.—Young Celt Angling in the Isle of Skye.—From an   Oil-
Painting.   By permission of Mrs. Mac Whirter.   Photograph by H. Dixon &* Son 79
JOHN R. REID, R.I.—Lord Selborne Angling near Itchin Abbas, about Twenty-four Years Ago.—From
an Oil-Painting 80
A. CHEVALLIER TAYLER.—Benson on Thames.—From an Oil-Painting exhibited in igiz at the Royal
Academy.   Photograph by H. Dixon, London 81
W. G. BURN MURDOCH, F.R.S.G.S.—Fishing by Lantern Light.—From a small Oil-Painting     .       .     82
W. G. BURN MURDOCH, F.R.S.G.S.—Salmon Spearing in Scotland.—From a Sketch in Body Colour   .     82
- R. F. ZOGBAUM, 1884.—Black Bass Fishing in the Lakes of the Adirondacks, State of New York.—From
a Woodcut 84
JOHN  DOYLE, " H. B.,"  1797-1868.—Lord John Russell Angling in  Conservative  Waters, aided by
Palmerston, and Watched by Peel and Wellington.—From a Print lent by James Rimell &» Son    .       .     86
JOHN DOYLE, "H. B.," 1797-1868.—Sir Robert Peel and Wellington Angling for Morgan O'Connell.—
From a Print lent by James Rimell & Son 86
CHARLES BENTLEY (?),<:. 1806-1854.—The Last Struggle.—From a Coloured Lithograph in the John
Lane Collection        .................     87
W. DENDY SADLER, 1880.— Thursday.—From an Oil-Painting belonging to the Tate Gallery.   Photograph
by W. A. Mansell, London 87
JOHN   LEECH,   1817-1864.—Mr. Briggs Practises with his Running Tackle.—^ permission   of   the
Proprietors of" Punch" 91
JOHN LEECH, 1817-1864.—Triumphant Success of Mr. Briggs.   The Pike Flies at him, and Barks like a
Dog.—From a Print lent by James Rimell & Son, London      .       .       ,       .       .       ,       .       ,       .91
JOHN LEECH.—Mr. Briggs tries for many Hours a Likely Place for a Perch.—By permission of the Proprietors
of" Punch."   From a Print lent by James Rimell & Son 93
JOHN LEECH.—A Salmon Runs away with Mr. Briggs.—By permission of the Proprietors of'' Punch "    .     93
EDWARD DUNCAN, R.W.S., 1804-1882.—Sniggling for Eels 95
EDWARD DUNCAN, R.W.S., 1804-1882.—Trolling for Jack 95
RICHARD   JONES,   OF   READING,   1767-1840.—Angler   on   the Banks  of the Thames, in Eton
Playing Fields.—From an Oil-Painting in the Arthur N. Gilbey Collection 98
EDMUND BRISTOW, 1787-1876.—Jack Hall, Fisherman of Eton.—From a Print by R. Graves, in the
Arthur If. Gilbey Collection 98
JAMES POLLARD, 1797—AFTER 1859.—Trolling for  Pike in the River Lee, iS$i.—From an Oil-
Painting in the Arthur N. Gilbey Collection 100
JAMES POLLARD.—Angler Gaffing a Pike: Waltham Abbey in the Distance.—From an Oil-Painting in
the Arthur N. Gilbey Collection 102
JAMES POLLARD.—Trout Fishing at Beddington Corner, Surrey.—From a small Oil-Painting in the
Arthur IV. Gilbey Collection 102
WILLIAM   HENRY  PYNE,  1769-1843.—Angling Studies.—From an Original Etching by the Artist.
The proof lent by W. T. Spencer, London 104
JAMES BATEMAN, 1814-1849.—Trout Fishing.—From a small Oil-Painting in the Arthur I\f. Gilbey
Collection 107
JAMES STARK, 1794-1859.—A Trout Stream, with a Fly-Fisher in the Middle Distance.   By permission of
Arthur Tooth &° Sons 107 k>i
MSIHHim
xx LIST   OF   ILLUSTRATIONS
To facet
EDMUND BRISTOW, 1787-1876.—Jack Hall's Fishing Patty.—From an Oil-Painting.     By permission of
Thomas Agnew &> Sons, and Messrs. Matthews &° Brooke	
ABRAHAM COOPER, R.A., 1787-1868.—Landed !—From a Proof Engraving in the Collection of General
JOHN BERNAY CROME, 1793-1842.—Fishing from a Rustic Bridge.—From a Sepia Drawing in the
John Lane Collection*	
JAMES STARK, 1794-1859.—Postwick Grove on the Yare, with two Anglers in a Boat.—From an Oil-
Painting.   By permission of Arthur Tooth <5r> Sons, Ltd.	
WILLIAM HEATH, 1795-1840.—Fishing in the Isle of Islay.—From a rare Lithograph by the Artist;
lent by James Rimell &> Son	
JOHN CROME, 1769-1821.—Landscape Scene in Norfolk, with a Peasant Fishing from a Rustic Bridge.
—From an Oil-Painting in the Thomas Wrigley Collection, Bury Art Gallery	
WILLIAM J. MULLER, 1812-1845.—The Eel Bucks at Goring, with Children Fishing.—From the famous
Oil-Painting in Mrs. Walter Agnew's Collection	
J. M. W. TURNER, R.A., 1775-1851.—Near Blair Athol, Scotland—From a Proof in Turner's " Liber
Studiorum " ; lent by the Cotswold Gallery, London	
J. M. W. TURNER, R.A., 1775-1851.—The Thames at Eton.—From a Proof Engraving by W. Radcliffe;
lent by the Cotswold Gallery, London	
ROBERT POLLARD, 1755-1838.—Fashionable Angling from a Punt.—From a Line Engraving by the
Artist; lent by W. T. Spencer, London	
PHILIP REINAGLE, R.A., 1749-1833.—Fishermen.—From an Oil-Sketch in the Arthur N. Gilbey
Collection	
ROBERT SEYMOUR, c. 1800-1836.—" Uncommon Small! Uncommon! Perch, Though ! 1 "—From a
Water-Colour in the M. H. Spielmann Collection :
GEORGE CRUIKSHANK, 1792-1878.—Angling a la Mode.—From a signed Etching lent by James
Rimell &* Son, London .........:
ROBERT POLLARD, 1755-1838.—Fashionable Angling.—A set of four Costume Pieces in Line Engraving.
From scarce Proofs in the Collection of an American Lady :
PHILIP REINAGLE, 1749-1833.—Fishermen.—From a rare Proof in Colour of the Engraving by J. Hassell
and W. Nicholls, published in 1814. '
W. JONES, c. 1832.—Roach Fishing.— Half-page Print, from an Oil-Painting in the Arthur N. Gilbey
Collection j
W. JONES, c. 1832.—May-Fly Fishing.— Half-page Print, from an Oil Painting in the Arthur N. Gilbey
Collection     1
A. WALKER, 1726-1765.—Gudgeon Fishing, or He's Fairly Hooked.—From a rare Mezzotint by T. Wilson,
mi j
ROBERT SEYMOUR, c. 1800-1836.—Noon.—His last Design and Drawing on Stone. From a Print in
Mr. B. H. Bennett's Collection j
FRANCIS NICHOLSON, R.W.S., 1753-1844.—Salmon Fishing.—Half-page Print, from an Oil-Painting
in the Arthur A. Gilbey Collection \
FRANCIS WHEATLEY, R.A., 1747-1801.—Boys Angling, accompanied by their Dog.—Half-page Print,
from a Water-Colour of1800 in the Arthur N. Gilbey Collection :
JAMES GILLRAY, 1757-1815.—Sheridan's Fishing Party, with the Prince of Wales in the Chair.—From
a Fores' Print of 1811 ]
SIR HENRY RAEBURN, R.A., 1756-1823.—Lt.-Colonel Bryce McMurdo, in a Dark-green Coat,
Swallow-tailed, and Nankeen Pantaloons.—From the Life-sized Portrait in the National Gallery, London    :
WILLIAM HAMILTON, R.A., 1751-1801.—Angling and Boudoir Idealism.—From an Engraving by
F. Bartolozzi, R.A., 1738-1813 .       .       .    1
S. ALKEN, JUNIOR, 1784—c. 1823.—Pike Fishing.—Half-page Print from a Lithograph lent by Messrs.
^^^w^m^mmmmm. LIST   OF   ILLUSTRATIONS xxi
PAUL SANDBY, R.A., 1725-1809.—Anglers near the Penywern Mills, Festiniog.—Half-page Print, from
an Aquatint by the Artist.    The Print lent by W. T. Spencer, London 148
W. JONES, c. 1832.—Fishing for Pike.—Half-page Print, from an Oil-Painting in the Arthur N. Gilbey
Collection 150
ALKEN SCHOOL, PERHAPS SAM ALKEN, JUNIOR.—Landing a Fish— Half-page Print, from an
Oil-Painting.   Photograph lent by Messrs. Knoedler 15°
S. DAVID, c. 1822.—Dibbing for Chub.—Half-page Print, from a small Oil-Painting in the Arthur N.
Gilbey Collection     152
HENRY ALKEN, 1785-1851.—Fishing in a Punt.—From a Coloured Aquatint by J. Clark .       .       .152
HENRY   ALKEN,   1785-1851.—Fly  Fishing   Difficulties.—Half-page Print, from  an Aquatint by the
Artist 153
HENRY ALKEN.—Bottom Fishing—Half-page Print, from an Aquatint by the Artist 153
J. M. W. TURNER, R.A., 1775-1851.—A Member of the Houghton Fishing Club.—From a Humorous
Pencil Drawing given to the Club JSS
T. TOOKE.—" I wonder what Fly will Suit Them to-day."—From a Portrait Sketch made for the Houghton
Fishing Club 157
R. FRAIN.—" Rob o' the Trows," Fisherman to Lieut.-General Sir Thomas M. Brisbane, Bart., of Mackersta-
on-Tweed.—From a Lithograph by C. Cousens, in the Arthur N. Gilbey Collection 161
W. JONES, c. 1834.—Fly-Fishing :  The Act of Casting.— From an Oil-Painting in the Arthur N. Gilbey
Collection 160
SAMUEL HOWITT, 1750-1822— Four Fishing Subjects from Original Etchings 162
GEORGE JONES, R.A., 1786-1869.—Sir Francis Chantrey, R.A., " Blowing."—From a Pencil Drawing
made for the Houghton Fishing Club 164
SIR EDWIN LANDSEER, R.A., 1802-1873.—Humorous Sketches in Pencil of Sir Francis Chantrey, R.A.
—Drawn for the Houghton Fishing Club 173
GEORGE MORLAND, 1763-1804.—The Angler.—From an Oil-Painting in the Coats Collection. Photograph by W. A. Mansell, London 175
GEORGE MORLAND.—A Party Angling.—From a Coloured Aquatint by G. Keating, in the Collection of
Harry Keevil, Esq 175
JOHN  RAPHAEL SMITH,  1752-1812.—Two examples of Boudoir Idealism, " Strephon and Phyllis,"
and "The Angelic Angler."—From Mezzotints designed andengraved by J. R. Smith      ....    177
GEORGE MORLAND,   1763-1804.—Children  Fishing.—From a Mezzotint by P. Dawe, 1788; lent by
Mr. Frank T. Sabin 178
S. GILPIN, R.A., 1733-1807, AND P. REINAGLE, R.A., 1749-1833.—The Display at the Return to
Dulnon Camp.—From a large Oil-Painting that illustrates Colonel Thornton's tour through the Highlands
of Scotland, in 1786.    Mrs. Stroy an's Collection 180
ATTRIBUTED BY SOME EXPERTS TO GEORGE STUBBS, A.R.A., 1724-1806, BY OTHERS
TO THE ELDER ARTHUR DEVIS, 1708-1787.—Portrait of a Young Angler, Edward William
Leyborne, 1764-1843, of Littlecote and Hunstrete Park, who in 1805 assumed the additional Surname of
Popham.—From an Oil-Painting, jglin. h36 in., in the Collection of F. C. G. Menzies, Esq. .       .       .182
ARTHUR   DEVIS, SENIOR,  1708-1787.—Portraits of a Family of Anglers.—From an Oil-Painting
of 1749, in the Arthur N. Gilbey Collection 184
ARTHUR DEVIS, SENIOR, 1708-1787.—Richard Moreton with his Niece and Nephew.—From an Oil-
Painting, 36 in. by a8\ in.    Photograph lent by Messrs. Knoedler 185
" THE FISHING PARTY" IN THE VICTORIA ART GALLERY, BATH.—Attributed to many
Artists.—Zoffany's name, for instance, has been associated with the Figure-Painting, and Faringtoris with
the Landscape 187
JOHN RAPHAEL SMITH, 1752-1812.—Fishing Party at Hampton-on-Thames: Mr. and Mrs.
Lawrence, Miss Crump, Miss Curtis, and the Hampton Ferryman.—From an Oil-Painting in the
Arthur N. Gilbey Collection 189 xxii LIST   OF   ILLUSTRATIONS
Tofacet
JAMES   WALES,   1747-1795,  AND   "JOHN   CAMDEN,   ESQ."—Fishing Party at  Harleyford-on-
Thames.—From an Oil-Painting of i7go, in the Arthur N. Gilbey Collection    .       .       .       .       .       •
JOHANN ZOFFANY, R.A., 1735-1810.—Master James Sayer at the age of Thirteen, in the Act of
Fishing.—Painted in 1770, and Engraved in 1773 by Richard Houston, 1721-1773. From a Mezzotint
Proof lent by Messrs. Ellis & Smith	
JOHANN ZOFFANY, R.A.—Mr. and Mrs. Garrick at Tea, entertaining Dr. Johnson and Mr. Bowden, at
their Chiswick Villa.—From an Oil-Painting in the Earl of Durham's Collection	
GEORGE MULLINS, OF DUBLIN, DIED c. 1775.—A Rocky Landscape and a Fishing Party.—From
a signed Oil-Painting, dated 1772, in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford	
THOMAS SMITH, OF DERBY, DIED 1769.—Anglers on the Wie in Monsal Dale, near Bakewell,
1743.—From an Engraving by Vivares in the John Lane Collection	
FRANCIS BARLOW, c. 1626—c. 1803.—Angling.—From an Etching by Hollar; lent by Professor Selwyn
FRANCIS BARLOW.—At Sunset after a Day's Fishing.—From an Oil-Painting in Lord Onslow's
Collection.     Size, 13 ft. 3 in. by g ft. 2 in.   Signed and dated 1667	
FRANCIS BARLOW.—Dead Fish in a Landscape.—From an early Oil-Painting in the Tyrwhitt Drake
Collection	
FRANCIS BARLOW.—Coursing and Angling.—From an Original Drawing lent by Mr. Frank T. Sabin   .
JOHN ABSOLON, R.I., 1815-1895.—Eight Illustrations to The Compleat Angler, 1844.—From Engravings
by J. T. Willmore, A.R.A. ; lent by W. T. Spencer, London	
JOHN ABSOLON, R.I.—Landing the Grayling.—From a small Oil-Painting in the Arthur N. Gilbey
Collection •
SAMUEL WALE, R.A., DIED 1786.—Eight Illustrations to The Compleat Angler 1 Hawkins's First
Edition, 1760.—From Engravings by Rylands ; lent by W. T. Spencer, London	 ANGLING  IN   BRITISH   ART
'* I care not, I, to fish in seas-
Fresh rivers most my mind do phase,
Whose sweet calm course I contemplate,
And seek in life to imitate. . . ."
ILLUSTRATION TO WALTON'S "ANGLER'S SONG."
Drawn for Sir Frederick Macmillan by the late HUGH THOM8QN.  PORTRAIT OF FREDERIC M.
Authority on Dry Fly Fishing.    |
diyi.  H. AMSCHEWITZ w*MMiX\m'rtto*mi PREPARATORY
HOW  TO  BEGIN AND  HOW TO  END
If every man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages, he can
find only one sport, varied angling, which is fit for him to practise from first
childhood on into second childishness, when he may still have strength enough
to hold a rod while waiting for a bite. Six of the seven ages are represented
in angling pictures, and prints, and drawings ; and the variable span of
human life having thus, in art, its own complete angler, let us remember that
Walton himself lived through the seven ages in a very fine span of ninety
years, and that he was sixty when the first copies of his ever-youthful
masterpiece were sold at eighteenpence, in the Mayfly season of 1653.
Freshwater fishing, again, if we look at it from a standpoint of decorative
art, has one notable advantage over hunting and over racing : its charm in
pictures is more likely than theirs to be homely in quiet family rooms, for
it is never a spectacular charm, and its most strenuous movements have not
the stress of such rapid action as that of horses and hounds. In other words,
there is no reason for a picture of angling to be dominantly a sporting picture.
Its authors can attain " art plus sport " without encountering those complicated
difficulties which have turned a great many hunting and racing pieces into
" sport plus a little art."
With these primary things before our minds, let me review my subject in
its relations to the great adventurers called " a good start " and " a right
ending." There are difficult questions of art-editing to be considered, and
other difficult questions of literary handling ; for a book on research in the
history of art is really a double book, and, like matrimony, it is troubled by
what Balzac calls les petites miseres de la vie conjugate.
II
Through more than four centuries, age after age, a few British artists have
called up into pictorial presence varying aspects of angling, the first pioneers
3 4 ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
being rough and quaint draughtsmen. I speak of mundane angling, angling
as a sport or pastime, omitting all reference to Scriptural fishing symbols and
to miraculous draughts of fishes. Print s and pictures of the sport accumulated
slowly, and I think that Walton himself never wanted to see them produced
numerously, for he kept away from his great junior, Francis Barlow, who
would have worked as admirably with him as with JEsop's Fables.
Whenever I look at the wonderful amount of design and etching that
Barlow put into his editions of ^Esop, I say to myself: "All this original
thought and life ought to have been active in another and a different way,
collaborating with Izaak Walton's genius ! Then the value of The Compleat
Angler would have been doubled."
Still, though Walton did very little for angling in art, Barlow did much on
his own free account; and a hundred years after his death there were prints
enough, and pictures also, no doubt, scattered here and there, to merit careful
study in a book of research, liberally illustrated. But no such book appeared.
Angling writers had been slow, age after age. Thus, in 1811, when one of the
best known lists of angling works was published by G. W. H. Ellis, the number
of printed books and treatises was no more than eighty, though three hundred
and fifteen years had gone by since Wynkyn de Worde had brought out the
first one in the Second Edition of The Boke of St. Albans.
After 1811 anglers were very different, becoming so alert and so wideawake
as writers and as book-buyers, that in 1883, when a new version of the
Bibliotheca Piscatoria was completed by Westwood and Satchell, no fewer
than 3158 editions of 2148 different works were catalogued, with notes.
This means that in seventy-one years, from 1811 to 1882, 2068 first editions
of original new works on freshwater fishing had been written and brought
out. And since 1883, just forty years ago, there has been no end of writing
in English by anglers on the varieties of their sport.
Yet you will search in vain for a book on my subject, Angling and British
Artists, as they appear together in pictures, and prints, and drawings. Good
as this wide subject has been for a full century, fly-fishers and bottom-fishers
have left it uncared for, preferring to continue their custom of writing about
other and familiar phases of angling. Have they believed that the graphic
and pictorial arts, since 1496, have had only one good thing to do for their
sport, namely, to adorn books on fishing with prints and plates ?
If so, I remain perplexed, as even this one good thing has been held cheap
very often by writers on freshwater fishing, as by the chatty editors of
Walton's masterpiece who have kept the new generations in the dark about  "Mi HOW TO BEGIN AND HOW TO END     5
Walton's illustrators, when compiling bibliographies of The Compleat Angler.
Even Mr. R. B. Marston, to whom we all owe many a debt of gratitude, has
been unkind to draughtsmen and painters. In 1915 he edited an edition of
The Compleat Angler for the Oxford University Press, and in all respects
but one a copy of it is enjoyable. The introduction is brief and charming,
there are twenty half-tone illustrations, the printing is good, the binding quiet
and pleasant, and the book is thin enough in bulk to be put in one's pocket as
a companion. But, unluckily, the list of editions from 1653 to 1915 is not
what a bibliography should be, coldly complete, like a railway guide, its
compiler having omitted every one of the artist-illustrators, while printing
the name of every editor, including his own name, which appears three times.
And these remarks apply also to Le Gallienne's edition of The Compleat Angler,
which is beautifully decorated by Edmund H. New, a master of pen-drawing.
Le Gallienne prints his own name several times among the editors, like
Mr. R. B. Marston, while forgetting that the act and art of illustrating Walton's
pastoral have been employed for one purpose only—to make the book's
appeal more visibly attractive, and therefore more popular. Clearly, then,
art and artists are affronted when a bibliographer declines to find a place for
them in a long list of editions. There is an edition, remember, containing
original etchings both by D. Y. Cameron and the late William Strang.
What more does an editor need ?
And this matter is united to another. Fly-fishers and bottom-fishers
have never founded a school of their own among sporting artists, in emulation
of those other schools which, since the days of Francis Barlow {i.e. the seventeenth century), have been actively concerned with hunting, and racing, and
shooting. Artists have been influenced by angling mainly because they have
liked to use it in their work from time to time ; and their separation from
well-to-do angler-patrons has been shown, age after age, in a good many
circumstances. For instance, great English country houses have not inherited
any collections of fishing prints and pictures ; so my subject has no Badminton
of its own, no Welbeck Abbey, and no Althorp Park. The few collections
are modern, like Mr. Arthur N. Gilbey's in England, and the late Daniel
B. Fearing's in the U.S.A.
Whenever painters have been attracted by freshwater fishing, as a good
many were in the James Pollard period, their principal support has come from
outside the angling clubs ; and pretty soon their pictures have been forgotten,
like those of William Jones, or their prints in little editions have perished
through neglect into rarity, like James Pollard's ; then their merit in a few aaatssa
*
6 ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
well-preserved examples has begun to rise higher and higher in the markets.
Or take the case of Francis Barlow. He did much more for angling than for
racing, yet his one racing print founded a school in the art-patronage of the
Turf, while his angling prints and pictures, though emulated by several
early painters, like Smith of Derby, produced a slump, not a school. So
inhospitable were anglers during that period of seventy-four years in which
Walton's masterpiece remained out of print (1676-1750), awaiting the good
word of Dr. Johnson, who was charmed by the pastoral beauty of The Compleat
Angler.1
And this lukewarm attitude towards pictorial art is the more remarkable
because many books by anglers have some artistic qualities which appear
only now and then in other sporting writers : frequent poetic qualities, and
rich touches of good colour, united to a fondness for variety in well-chosen
landscapes. All this we do not find in Peter Beckford, in Colonel Thornton,
or. again, in % The Druid."
Ill
I have related some preliminary facts, and most of them have kept us at
close quarters with a problem that concerns the tastes of anglers. How is
this problem to be explained ? For what reasons have anglers kept away
from that steady patronage of art which has been active among other sportsmen
through more than three centuries ?
Let me offer as obiter dicta for quiet debate a set of allied reasons which
1 have ventured to choose after long inquiry and research.
1. Generally, the bent of anglers has run in the direction of words, words,
words, as talkers, and readers, and writers.
2. Other men devoted to books, and notably playwrights and novelists,
have never won much fame by collecting prints and pictures, though some have
had a talent for drawing, as Thackeray had, and as Rudyard Kipling has.
1 Andrew Lang says of this matter, in his and E.J. Sullivan's edition of The Compleat Angler
(Dent, 1896), that times altered after 1676 : " Walton is really an Elizabethan ; he has the quaint
freshness, the apparently artless music of language of the great age. He is a friend of ' country
contents ' ; no lover of the town, no keen student of urban ways and mundane men. A new taste,
modelled on that of the wits of Louis XIV, had come in : we are in the period of Dryden, and
approaching that of Pope. There was no new edition of Walton till Moses Browne (by Johnson's
desire) published him, with' improvements,' in 1750.   Then came Hawkins's edition of 1760. . . ."
Further, Mr. R. B. Marston has seen a copy of Moses Browne's edition of Walton's Angler
a presentation copy from Dr. Johnson to an officer of the name of Astle, in which Johnson had'
written, " A mighty pretty book, a mighty pretty book." As Johnson was not a fisherman, this
praise cannot refer to the technical teaching.  toy^pttOUS—
^ffiffliTHBpR^.W.PiJfiHflP HOW TO BEGIN AND HOW TO END     7
3. To this argument I add a thing important enough to be called a national
pleasure, namely, the love of pedigree animals which racing men and other
horsemen have inherited from age to age, and also have improved greatly
since Peter Beckford, in his Thoughts on Hunting, ran counter to the old kennel
habit of flogging hounds unreasonably. Is it this love of sporting animals,
all carefully bred and specially trained, that has endowed its own sportsmen
with a widening outlook upon life and upon art ? If fly-fishers needed a
special breed of spaniel to do the work now done by net and gaff : if this were
a fact in their sport, and not an idea fit for Alice in Wonderland, would they
begin to see that their craft needs as much encouragement from them in the
fine arts as hunting and racing have received in these arts from their own
sportsmen ? l
4. Remember, in this connection, the influence animal portraiture has
had on sporting prints and pictures. Omit this portraiture from the best
prints and pictures, and perhaps more than one half of the racing and hunting
subjects will be cancelled, together with many phases of history : fashions in
dress, for instance, and changes in farming habits, and the gradual improvement of hounds and horses. Further, the love of animals being almost
universal, many painters have felt the need of it in angling pictures, and have
put in a friendly dog. Seymour Haden did so in one of his etched angling
prints, like Fred Walker, A.R.A., in " The Peaceful Thames," a charming
idyll of children fishing ; there is also Ansdell's canvas of " Landing a
Salmon," and Sir George Harvey's Fishing Party on Loch Lee.
5. Very often there is a loneliness in angling that is generally absent from
other open-air sports ; so I note that a good many old prints and pictures
look almost crowded with anglers, as though their producers remembered that
most people liked to see plenty of company in sporting subjects. Take
Barlow's print of seventeenth century rod-fishing, or the younger
Wolstenholme's picture of angling in a woodland river ; these are typical
examples, and they have been criticized by some experts of to-day, though
the Barlow is a little masterpiece, a sort of tapestry of angling, ingenuous in
feeling, and very ingenious in design. It is an epitome of rod-fishing, during
Walton's later years, and invaluable as evidence at first-hand. Though a
fishing competition along a span of river much too narrow, and therefore at
1 After writing this paragraph I found at the Piscatorial Society, London, in a large album,
a print by Samuel Howitt (1750-1822) called, " The Canine Landing Net" ! It represents a
spaniel coming from some tallish reeds with a fish in his mouth ; and the fish is attached to a
hook and line. Izaak Walton speaks of a gentleman in Leicestershire, Mr. Nich. Seagrave, who
made a young otter tame, and taught her to catch fish. 8 ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
fault from a technical standpoint, it is happy and beautiful as a sporting
decoration.
6. We move on to another notable thing, the passion which anglers have
retained for the technique of their progressive craft, with its joys, troubles,
customs, and autobiographies, written and spoken. A ruling passion cannot
well be more dominantly strong than this one has been, and I cannot help
thinking that it has done a great deal to prevent anglers from seeing their
sportsmanship as it has been viewed by free artists, who, naturally, have
valued self-expression as a need of their own craft. Remember that realism
in prints and pictures is well-defined, even concrete, and therefore likely to
offend the angler's technical precision. On these matters an old angler
writes to me as follows :—
" No doubt there are anglers who do love pictures as pictures, and who
are not painter-anglers. I can summon before my mind those whom I have
known well. Let me take myself as an example. Till I retired from the
practice of fly-fishing, it was very difficult for me to look objectively—that is,
without personal bias—at a picture of my favourite sport; my criticisms of
art were centred in myself. I was an egoist who desired that Art should
live for fly-fishing. And I've noticed the same thing in my friends. That
is to say, whenever I've put before them one of my angling prints or pictures,
newly bought, their passion for the technique of fly-fishing has begun at once
to talk, and very often it has raided a mood in art chosen by a painter whose
well-defined aim and end should have been accepted within their own limits.
" I make no complaint, you understand, because I find no fault; I express
no wonder, for I feel none at all. The great craft of fly-fishing has a wonderful
fascination, by which its really ardent devotees are shut up in a sect. If a
painter-angler chooses a motif from the sport, and paints a jolly good
angling picture, he's almost certain to be \ crabbed ' by anglers who are not
painters. Perhaps he has put in a spot too many on a fish, for instance ;
this, let me say, is regarded as a sin unpardonable by one famous writer on
angling. Another writer almost as famous hates the colour blue, and curses
any painter who sees the blue in water. Yes, and he dresses a blue-winged
olive with slatey wings !
" These are facts : and I rejoice to add that although these writers have
no feeling for paint and painters, they are big fine fellows in their own delightful
craft. As I regard angling as a sectarian in sport, like golf, I cannot yet believe
that its non-artist followers will ever form a school of angling painters. In
all probability, so far as I can see, paintings of the sport will continue to
be private adventures undertaken by artists for their own enjoyment . . ."
In any case, there must be reasons for the very small amount of support  ' HOW TO BEGIN AND HOW TO END     9
which has been given by anglers to the encouragement of sporting art.
Those which are offered here for consideration form a genial set.
IV
To an art-editor the technique of fly-fishing is troublesome, as well as
attractive. What artists in their work have done with angling, not what
they might have done if anglers had been patrons of art, is, of course, my
subject. Yet several fly-fishers have hinted plainly that my research should
be confined to one big thing only—the standpoint of fly-fishermen. Let us
look at this matter more in detail, for it is instructive to do so.
My subject belongs to those artists who, from age to age, have made free
use of freshwater fishing, and through them, of course, it belongs to every
person who loves art and country life united to sport and to centuries of history.
The rich technique of fly-fishing, with its own art and its literary history, is
very important, obviously, but its value to painters is that of a varied inspiration, not that of an autocratic master, unless technical precision is the
governing aim.
If a fly-fisher is a painter also, and if he produces a picture in which his
own sport is introduced, he will choose one of two attitudes :
(a) The attitude of J. M. W. Turner, who thought of his composition, not
of angling handicraft.
(b) Or he will say to himself : " As a fisherman I must have everything as
other fishermen will wish it to be. My anglers, however small, must be doing
the proper thing in precisely the right way, even though this narrowing
restraint may harm the freedom of my work as a picture."
Myself, as art-editor, I accept both of these attitudes, and also the attitudes
of painters who, so far as we know, did not practise angling, any more than
they served an apprenticeship in farming before they painted ploughmen,
sowers, reapers, and harvesters.
Still, there is a belief among fly-fishers that their craft cannot be painted
well except by artists who are masters also of the rod. They forget several
very important considerations. In the first place, few landscape painters
have been important also as figure painters, and if a fly-fisher is placed in
the foreground of a riverside, the picture needs good figure painting as well
as a broadly-seen treatment of airy landscape : there is thus a union of two
arts, and it cannot be achieved by a painter-angler whose training and practice
fit him for landscape only or mainly. Thus Patrick Nasmyth, in his well-
composed oil-colour named " The Angler's Nook," put in only an incidental V
I
io ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
fisher, a small, seated figure in a white smock and a black hat. Again, good
figure painting depends on synthetical observation trained by long practice,
and fly-fishers are not more difficult to observe correctly than other figures in
a country scene. Any first-rate figure painter who is a landscapist also, like
Brangwyn, could paint a first-rate angling picture if he desired to do so.
It is natural for specialists to overstate the value of their own technique
to the practice of painting. But it is equally natural for their critics to ask a
few questions. For instance, is it necessary for painters to practise surgery
before they attempt to emulate Rembrandt's Lecon d'Anatomie du professeur
N. P. Tulp ? Is it wrong for them to study marine painting from ships
and the sea, or should they begin by serving as mates in the merchant service ?
At a time when sailors used to complain that R. L. Stevenson's frank seamanship was often candidly wrong, an ardent angler, Andrew Lang, answered
mockingly, " I care no more than I do for the year One ! " And surely he
was right. Kidnapped and Treasure Island had entered a most elusive harbour,
a lasting popularity ; lasting, for they continue to keep a great many more
friends than The Cruise of the Midge and Tom Cringle's Log, whose seamanship
sailors have always admired. Similarly we may be certain that correct angling
technique alone will not create a masterpiece of painting, not even when it is
necessary to the painter's aims.
It happens, too, that technical knowledge is extremely hard to apply
artistically after it has been acquired at first hand by painters and writers.
Take George Stubbs and his thorough study of equine anatomy. He dissected
dead horses, and learnt by heart how the muscles and veins looked under the
skins ; but when he tried to employ his knowledge in pictures of living and
active horses, Stubbs failed many times. Indeed, " The Druid " went so far as
to tell his readers that Stubbs was ignorant of anatomy I1 " The Druid " must
have seen a sequence of Stubbs' failures, but failures of this sort remind us of
the two varieties of knowledge used by artists : one gained by observation
only, and the other by scientific research, by practising a craft, or by following
a sport. It matters not how the knowledge is gained if painters or writers
make works of art.
1 To confirm this fact turn to The Pbst and the Paddock, edition of 1857, and on p. 139 you will
read, sandwiched between some remarks on Ben Marshall, a few confident statements about Stubbs.
For instance : " His chief failing was a lack of anatomical knowledge, and his horses in motion
were stiff and unnatural to the last degree. He adopted the old style of making the hind pasterns
bend inwards in the gallop, instead of outward, as they are now more correctly drawn." How
ironic that Stubbs, the greatest authority on the anatomy of horses, should have been accused of
" a lack of anatomical knowledge " !
^i   HOW TO BEGIN AND HOW TO END
And let us remember also that many good fishing pictures have no anglers
in them ; still-life studies of fish, for instance, and Horatio McCulloch's
I Loch Maree " (1866), or Seymour Haden's fine etching of the well-known
dry-fly stream, the Test. In fact, some prints and paintings are full of angling
charm without any help from fly-fishers or bottom-fishers, while many illustrations of the great craft of casting have either no charm at all or a charm that
is inferior. Casting, indeed, like the act of throwing a cricket ball from the
boundary into the wicket-keeper's gloves, is really an unpaintable thing, as
figure painters will admit. The movement of a wet line is very attractive,
but its gleam, or shimmer, cannot be suggested in a picture ; and also a
single movement, when stopped and fixed by art, needs very often the
companionship of other such movements, as in hunting and racing pictures.
Then combinations of line and form test a painter's trained gift as a designer.
I have not yet seen a picture of casting with a fishing magic quite equal to
that of Norman Wilkinson's dry-point etching called " A Spey Salmon Pool."
In this work, where many contrasts of black and white and grey have the richness almost of velvety mezzotint, the only fishers are noisy gulls gliding in low
flight over some ridged shallows, and near the foreground, very well placed,
a fine, rapturous young salmon is leaping as a silvery curve from so calm a
face of water that it is ruffled only by the splash made by the upward spring.
This dry-point is a gladdening inspiration ; it liberates into free art (if we
see and feel it as collaborators) many sympathetic memories of sport which
may be too chatty when anglers write about them.
Yet a noted angler, in a published criticism of the " Spey Salmon Pool,"
writes with a sectarian bias, saying that this " beautiful and typical Speyside
scene " represents " the point of view of the artist," as though an artist should
borrow points of view ; and that the leaping salmon is " obviously not a
taking fish." " The light, moreover, to those who set store thereby, though
beautiful, is not encouraging to seekers after sport. We imagine to ourselves
a long, blank, laborious morning with a clean Scottish air filling our lungs,
and urging us to further endeavour." 1
Now these quotations are autobiographical; their author has chosen
certain things from his recollections of sport, and they happen to be things
which Norman Wilkinson, who is a keen fly-fisher, tried to cut off from his
chosen purpose ; tried also with success, if we, as print-lovers, free our
minds of irrelevancies.    The day being a bad one for sport, Norman Wilkinson
1 As I am writing about principles, not about critics, I think it better to leave unnamed the
publication from which I quote. 12 ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
omitted a fly-fisher from his composition, and enjoyed himself as a free artist
while the salmon leaped through its holiday. If we say that the " leaping
fish, well drawn," does " not stir much hope in the heart of the angler," or
that the light, \ though beautiful, is not encouraging to seekers after sport," we
allow irrelevancies in our own minds to circulate to other minds, harming
what an artist has done finely for our enjoyment. Whether the harm is
done wittingly or unwittingly, we recall to many persons what Thackeray used
to say about those reviewers who found fault with a book for what it did not
give, as thus, to take Thackeray's examples :
| Lady Smigsmag's novel is amusing, but lamentably deficient in geological
information."
| Mr. Lever's novels are trashy and worthless, for his facts are not borne
out by any authority, and he gives no information about the political state of
Ireland. Oh ! our country, our green and beloved, our beautiful and
oppressed ! "
True criticism, in other words, is just interpretation : it collaborates with
artists loyally ; and for this reason we must clear our minds of fixed ideas
when we study what artists have done with freshwater fishing. Even
illustrations which invite criticism, like Newton Fielding's, are often valuable ;
sometimes we learn from them what our forefathers bought, and sometimes,
like the rare Newton Fielding's in colour, they are united to a good phase of
aquatinting, or to some other cleverly used process of reproduction. There
is but little that is valueless if students of history clear their minds of whims
and prejudices. The costumes worn by anglers at different periods, and
the rods they handle, are always entertaining, no matter what the prints or
pictures may be from other standpoints.
Yet one specialist, to whom I wrote, wanted to confine my subject in a
bywater where only three fishermen were allowed to ply their craft; three only,
and always the same trio : Richard Ansdell, R.A., who died in 1885, Ernest
E. Briggs, R.I., who died in 1913, and P. Chenevix Trench, an Irish amateur,
who illustrated The Sportsman in Ireland, published in 1897 by Edward Arnold.
The expert spoke of them as the only draughtsmen known to him who combined technical knowledge of angling with power to delineate the craft satisfactorily. Note what happens when a specialist limits his own view to
technical knowledge of angling with the power of delineating the craft
satisfactorily.
First of all he limits himself to illustrative work only, and to his own
unguided opinion of what it should be as art.    But we have a right to ask \  \\V..
I
0$-^^
,'^SHL
\3mjr
^
">» HOW TO BEGIN AND HOW TO END
x3
Is he a trained judge, an artist, as well as a good angler ? Next, he implies
that his chosen draughtsmen are illustrators merely, and this may be unfair
to their merits. It is unfair in the case of Briggs, for instance, as we shall
see. And why should an expert be so impolite as to turn his back upon
J. S. Sargent, Charles Furse, G. H. Boughton, Sir George Harvey, Charles
Keene, and some other moderns ? When I wrote to angling artists,
asking for their kind help, I received very different advice, naturally, for art
must rise above the merely illustrative if it is to be abundantly useful to sport
and to country life. One famous painter said : " You know Charles Keene
made some inimitable drawings of Scottish angling subjects, and, of course,
Sargent's great tumble of water must be given."
Or we may take one of those free and charming water-colours by David
Cox, wherein two or three country children show a triumph of hope over
experience by watching for a movement of their floats in one of those ponds
where bites come from puffs of wind ruffling the water. Does anyone
believe that these pictures, studies of Nature and of happy childhood, are not
much nearer to the heart of angling than a technical illustration ?
Good photographs would show the handling of rod and line more correctly
than drawings, and would be as helpful as illustrations of technique, as good
photographs are to students of historic architecture. Viewed in this way,
freshwater fishing is a delightful subject for a popular film. How excited
townsfolk would be if a film showed them what prolific sport is like at Grimersta
in the famous Kelt Pool! By my side is a rough sketch of a young angler
and his ghillie at work in this pool: a sketch by W. G. Burn Murdoch, made
in perhaps half an hour. It is entitled " Another ! " The ghillie is kneeling,
with his landing-net ready, and a dozen trout lie around him on the wet
bankside. His master is a boy in kilts, who stands on a slippery boulder
with his back towards me, looking down at his active line. As though bored
by too easy fishing, he holds his rod inexpertly, as C. B. Fry would hold his
bat if he were playing tip-and-run with little boys and girls. Rain falls,
blurring the landscape, and bathing a typical scene of Grimersta fishing with
drenched discomfort.
Altogether, my subject is new in a book, unlike the technique of angling,
which has a vast library all to itself. We are going to see how angling has
been used in portraiture, in landscape painting, in conversation groups
(as they used to be called), in idealism, in charming pictures of children
fishing, in some varied book illustrations, also in still life, in humour and
caricature, and in print collecting. H
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
As angling, viewed in its relation to Nature out of doors, is unassertive,
it is fit to be used more often than hunting and shooting as an element of
quiet composition, by means of which painters can put symbols of peace
into rugged landscape, and suggestions of activity into days completely
mild and serene. Incidental anglers are not frequent enough in British art,
but whenever they are found in good period pictures, they are sportsmen
to be loved, helping us to breathe the many original atmospheres which
men of genius have stored up in their landscape paintings and water-
colours.
Portraitists also have failed to use angling enough in their independent
work, regardless of what anglers might say. The earliest angling picture
of note is a portrait mentioned by Walton, the portrait of Dr. Nowel, at
Brasenose College, Oxford ; and there is a sequence of occasional angling
portraits that unites Dr. Nowel to excellent work done in recent years. But
all students of the present subject, and notably Mr. A. N. Gilbey, to whom
I am greatly indebted, will admit that portrait painters, like landscapists, have
not angled themselves often enough into great and original successes. There
is only one known angling portrait by Raeburn, for instance, though Raeburn
was a good trout fisher. And I can find nothing by Reynolds, and nothing
by Gainsborough, not even a chalk sketch, though he fished from time to
time.
Why is it that artists, working independently, have not made more frequent
use of freshwater fishing ? A Scottish painter, William Walls, R.S.A.,
himself a fly-fisher, says, in answer to this question :
" I know of many Scottish painters who are anglers, but I don't know
of any who have painted angling pictures except myself. They are not easy
to paint, as they must be done in a few hours at most.
" Since getting your letter I have thought a good deal over the matter,
but get no farther forward. The only other Scottish painter of angling
pictures I can think of is William Geddes, father of Ewan Geddes, R.S.W.
He died a good many years ago. It is a long time since I have seen any of
his pictures, but he made a special study of such subjects, and won a great
reputation with anglers anyhow."
A cold bath for me as researcher ; and though I tried hard to get out
of it by writing open letters to thirty newspapers in Scotland, pleading for
Scottish angling pictures by Giles, Harvey, Sam Bough, Fraser, and others,
I received a disappointing number of useful answers.    Still, Mr. William   HOW   TO   BEGIN   AND   HOW   TO   END 15
Walls sent me a restorative, the " Angler's Prayer," which had been given
to him by Mr. Jack the publisher, who came upon it in an old book :
p Lord, suffer me to catch a fish—
So large that even I,
When talking of it afterwards,
May have no need to lie."
As for Mr. Walls' remark about angling pictures being hard to paint
because they need sure and rapid handling, it may be accepted as one reason
for the rarity of such paintings ; and the next reason, suggested by the history
of art, is that many landscapists have been too shaky in their figurework
to be attracted by anglers, however skilled themselves in freshwater fishing.
A third reason comes from Mr. Norman Wilkinson, who has created a
desirable series of angling dry-points and water-colours. Every spring he
takes a fly-fishing holiday in Scotland, after convincing himself that his only
aim is thrift artistic, new motifs for pictures being necessary. So his rod
and line compete along riversides against his brush and palette, and the first
leaping fish wins many victories for sport. At once the angler's prayer
emotion begins to act, and but for that frequent sulkiness which overcomes fish, and fishermen afterwards, not enough sketches would be done
from Nature. Even Ernest Briggs, in his book on Angling and Art in Scotland,
by writing as a jolly holiday-maker only, shows that angling in paint has a
frequent opponent in the practice of fly-fishing.
Mr. A. N. Gilbey writes to me on this point, and says :
1 Among the eminent ones who did not contribute any work on angling
(so far as I know) was my old friend Sir William Orchardson, R.A., who
used to fish with me for a week every year on the Tweed, about thirty-five
years ago, and with whom I used to fish in the Kennet in the early nineties.
In the way of angling he cared for nothing but fly-fishing, and although he
was not an expert, having taken to it somewhat late in life, he was an enthusiast
devoted to the gentle craft."
It seems likely that one opponent to angling in art is to be found in
that mood of sportsmanship which has regarded the rod and line as
free from danger, and therefore inferior to hunting.
This mood is downright, for example, in Peter Beckford, who is to
fox-hunting what Izaak Walton is to angling.    In Letter XVII Beckford
" What are other sports, compared with  this [i.e. fox-hunting], which
is full of enthusiasm !    Fishing is, in my opinion, a dull diversion ; snooting, i6
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH  ART
though it admit of a companion, will not allow of many : both, therefore,
may be considered as selfish and solitary amusements, compared with hunting ;
to which as many as please are welcome : the one might teach patience to
a philosopher; and the other, though it occasion great fatigue to the body,
seldom affords much occupation to the mind ; whereas fox-hunting is a
kind of warfare ; its uncertainties, its fatigues, its difficulties, and its dangers,
rendering it interesting above all other diversions. . . ."
Between about 1800 and about i860, angling was too frequently a stock
joke in graphic humour and banter, sometimes also in excessive caricature ;
and many persons of to-day get self-enjoyment as wits by laughing at freshwater fishing. Last year, for instance, an amateur crack at steeple-chasing
said to a friend : "I'm beginning to find pluck in anglers. An uncle of
mine, aged sixty, angling in a Scotch river with the water to his thighs,
caught a bad chill, and died in three days. By Jove ! There's danger in
this sport after all. And I happened to be my uncle's heir." There are
overdone moods like this one in some of Robert Seymour's comic sketches
of angling.
But a marked change has certainly occurred since about i860. Angling
prints of the James Pollard period have risen higher and higher in market
value ; new illustrated editions of Walton's Compleat Angler have received
varied and loving care, much better as art, usually, than the devotion to be
found in earlier editing ; and again, enough angling pictures have been painted
to start a flourishing, school if a proper attitude towards this happy sport
be present among writers, painters, etchers, sculptors, dealers in works of
art, and private art-patrons. The useful and necessary thing is that less
attention should be given by angling experts to literary and technical aspects
of their craft, and much more attention to the many aspects that should
appeal to painters, and etchers, and sculptors. Prize competitions offered
to artists by great periodicals, such as The Field and Country Life, would
be invaluable as a stimulus, and also as a collector of designs for a series
of new angling prints.
\h
V
We have considered some preliminary things that belong to the preparation of one portion of a book on art, namely, the illustrations, with their variety
of appeal; and now let me note the technical stages through which this
one portion moves gradually, troubled by hitches and scrapes. There is
nothing simple and easy in How to Begin and How to End.
*mm.   HOW TO BEGIN AND HOW TO END
i7
A picture having been found and chosen, kind permission to reproduce
it is sought from its owner, then, if possible, it is either borrowed to be
reproduced in colour, or photographed carefully, often under difficult
conditions. Now and then several trained men have to be hired before
the picture can be removed from its wall; and sometimes the picture is
so dusty that its oil paint has to be washed and varnished. The photographing is rarely " a soft job." On grey days, when the light is troublesome,
two negatives are " taken," in the hope that one of them will be better
than the other. The next stage begins with the blockmakers, continues
through proofs and revises, into the actual printing, and thence through
the processes of binding and publication.
An author and his collaborating publishers are not at ease till all of this
work, work full of risks, is finished, under conditions which they cannot
pick and choose with untrammelled freedom. If the printing happens to
be as good as the blockmaker's passed proofs, one may perhaps feel, for a
few minutes, as happy as bacteriologists do when they discover a new microbe,
and have visions of unemployed undertakers. As a rule, reaction after long
overstrain soon begins, and one sinks full fathoms five into gloomy self-
censure, which remains active till another book is begun.
Is it not clear that this complex labour is really a sort of orchestra of
diligent collaboration ? The kind owner who allows his picture to be reproduced, not without some disturbance to his household, collaborates
with the art-editing and the publishing; so do the photographer and the
blockmaker ; then the last anxieties of collaborating commence to be active,
for printers and binders may be unlucky, as all craftsman are from time to
time.
VI
Some other very difficult matters are active always around the art-editing ;
for conflicts of tastes and of schools demand incessant care when a book
covers a great deal of changeful history.   The main reasons are three :
1. Differences of attitude towards painting separate a great many painters
from the editorial needs of a book in which centuries of efforts are reviewed.
2. Through a century and more, unceasing strife has divided artists
into a couple of schools ; hence it is necessary for an editor and his readers
to see what this strife means to them.
3. If possible, present-day tastes and prejudices should be reconciled
with the long evolution of earlier prejudices and tastes. 18 ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
These things being very important, let us consider them closely.
(a) Contentions arise between craftsmen of different kinds because their
needs are different, like their customs. Many painters do not perceive that
art is a collaboration between art-workers and everybody who is invited
to encourage what they produce. When this collaboration is quite easy
books and pictures are " good-sellers," or " best-sellers " ; but in a great
many cases it has many difficulties. Then there is but little accord between
the appeals made by artists and the minds and habitual tastes to which the
appeals are made. Of course, persons of genius are free to shape their
own lots, each in his own way ; but for all that, the ruling fact of life is that
we cannot live to please unless we please to live ; that is to say, unless there
is an interchange of sympathy between the work we do and certain current
needs and tastes in the great purchasing public. Whether weak or strong,
this bond of sympathy is a collaborating influence that unites us as craftsmen to the world outside our workshops ; and let us remember also that
it may become more and more far-spreading as a power friendly to art.
Take Shakespeare as an example. When he began to write for the stage,
he chose an appeal to the public more direct and more intimate than the
printing-press would have put within his reach. So it became his duty as a
playwright to hold the common crowd, and yet be free as a poet. Surely
his compromising attitude towards the mob should be placed among the
greatest of his achievements, since it has kept its authority on the stage not
in English only, but also in translations for theatres abroad. This being
true of the greatest of all Englishmen, why should many British artists try
to win fame by cutting themselves off from ordinary people ?
Some of them are researchers, and research often arrives tardily at good
results ; but there is also another reason. A painter needs only a handful
of buyers, year after year, so he is not compelled, as writers of books are,
to think of finished work in its relation to a large and enlarging public. Fifty
pictures at £20 apiece, if sold in a year to fifty buyers (or less), earn a gross
income of .£1000. Deduct ,£250 for professional expenses, leaving a net
income of £750. And now let us take an illustrated book on art, produced
in a year and priced at a guinea net, with a royalty of 15 per cent, for its
author—a royalty not often obtained since 1914. Well, if the author is
to earn an income of £750 gross, some 5000 copies must be sold of his
guinea book ; thus -his view of pictures, considered in their relation to daily
life and the general public, cannot be that of a hermit, any more than a
playwright's attitude to the drama can omit the theatre and its pit and gallery.  rw l HOW TO BEGIN AND HOW TO END
i9
(b) Allied with these considerations is that untiring strife which has
gone on through more than a century between two varied schools of painters :
the modernist school, whose innovators have always run the risk of being
washed ashore, dead, by the changing tides of art's wayward fashions ; and
the school of traditions, a conservative party which has reacted against
I revolutionary " ideas and efforts. The strife continues, misemploying a
vast amount of vitality which would be useful in production. We need
a Court of Appeal in Art, where quarrels between schools would let off steam
before a peacemaking judge and jury, and where critics once a year would
be carefully examined by authors and artists.
In so far as art is concerned with sport, the newest " isms " are not yet
active. Sporting painters belong to the traditional school, so they keep as
near as they can to sportsmen, and to all townsmen who are attracted by sport
and country life ; but most of them, happily, have responded to earlier
phases of modernism. If there had been no daring innovators, traditional
painting might have been stifled by custom and convention. Some of the
newest modernism, I think, may become of service to sporting art.
One development may employ coloured glass or transparent enamel,
with small electric lights in differently tinted bulbs put behind the pattern-
work, to diversify uncommon harmonies of radiant colour. Some sporting
compositions could be formalized in this way and used both as decorations for
smoking-rooms, and as advertisements for the streets. Angling scenes would
be suitable because movement in this sport is not often strenuously active ;
it is often akin to the active repose of sculpture, and could be formalized
—abstracted is the modernist word—into a new sort of decoration without
seeming too anti-natural. Many sportsmen would accept it as they accept
scenes of angling in ancient tapestry, or in tapestry-like compositions by
Francis Barlow.
(c) Not that Barlow is at all popular, many sportsmen regarding his
appeal as too far-distant from their minds ; and they say so unashamed,
implying that it is he, not they, who should be blamed. When pictures
belong to many centuries and to many different—and often opposed—styles,
or ways of seeing and representing familiar things, familiar to us as twentieth-
century persons, the business of art-editing is most difficult. As children
of our own day we feel estranged from too much of the old or older workmanship representing types of society which have gone for ever ; but since it
belongs to our subject we cannot afford to misjudge the past merely because
it differed from our own times.   Francis Barlow should be as near to us all 20 ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
as John S. Sargent is, and the first little treatise on fishing with an angle,
written quaintly with ingenuous pride, probably by Dame Barnes or Bernes,
should be as chatty and charming to us as are the chapters on Angling
Adventures of an Artist, written and illustrated by John Shirley-Fox, and
published recently by John Murray.1
As the oldest work is the least congenial to present-day habits of seeing
and feeling, I am going to make use of an idea never before tested in a book,
perhaps, and yet more reasonable than the old stock method of writing
history. This old method drops us down as bewildered strangers into
a far-off period, and compels us to travel from reign to reign towards our
own time, slowly and uneasily, a plethora of dates enforced upon us as
daily diet. No real country air is present in the congested facts which
are supposed to sum up our forefathers' changing life in those centuries
when England's mainstay was farming, and the golden fleece of her sheep-
folds. This peculiar way of writing and of reading history has passed
through the centuries almost unquestioned, conserved by custom. Myself,
I began to think of it as a nonconformist when my book on British Sporting
Artists was too far advanced for any important change to be made. One
day a question came to me all of a sudden : | Surely Barlow ought to be at
the end of this book, and the moderns at the beginning ? Then the perspective and its long vista would conduct students from a familiar foreground, through gradually receding distances, to the farthest point of sight,
the beginnings of British Sporting Art."
Certainly we look back upon the past, so it must be a custom of affectation
to imagine that, by an effort of will-power, we can take our stand in a period
far-off, and then move forward comfortably to our own time. When pictures
are displayed in this tail-foremost arrangement, those which are most difficult
to appreciate, being the most remote from our present-day ideas and tastes,
are those which a student comes upon first, before he is prepared to be friendly
with them. Let him live first with his contemporaries ; then let him
go back at ease through his own life and its pictures, on into his father's
time, and into the next generations, feeling always that he is travelling period
by period towards the beginnings of an art worth studying in all of its
phases.
This idea I am going to test as carefully as is possible.    It appeals to
me strongly ;  not only is it new in a book, it is also natural and rational.
As children we made use of it when we asked our parents to tell us about
1 If this book had appeared earlier I should have reviewed it in Chapter I. HOW   TO   BEGIN   AND   HOW  TO  END 21
their own early days, then about their fathers and mothers, and their grandparents and great-grandparents. Similarly, in thinking of art I think first
of its most assertive devotees, the present-day innovators ; next, by gradual
stages, I go back to the year 1878, when, at the age of sixteen, I entered
the Slade School of Art, and saw for the first time at exhibitions, the " isms "
and " ites " of those days : Whistlerism, and Penny Whistlerism, competing
with Classicists, Romantics, pre-Raphaelites, and Realists, Impressionists also,
and Symbolists. Wonderful days ! Such hopes—as assertive as full sunlight,
and clouded as easily !
From 1878 we can go pretty easily into, and through, the preceding
period, and back into the eighteenth century, when angling pictures and
prints, never so numerous as they ought to be, get scarcer and scarcer.
The final period runs from Walton's time, which is also the time of
Barlow, back to Dame Barnes or Bernes in the fifteenth century. As a
whole it is a period of infrequent angling books frugally illustrated; a
period of path-findings, all notable as country history, with one masterpiece which has placed its author Izaak Walton among those of " the
simple [great ones gone" whose genius remains lovable imperishably.
Indeed, if a writer on sport can be canonized, and enshrined as a patron
saint, it is Walton, whom criticism has chosen for this honour, after thrusting aside a few notable protests.
VII
We pass on to the chapters and their composition. Here again the illustrations have incessant influence, an influence of three sorts : it interrupts
literary composition incessantly, it makes writing on art different from other
writing, and it is disturbing also to readers, whose collaboration with the
whole book is invited by the book's production. These are things to be
explained.
First, then, as regards the first influence. Long delays in procuring
pictures, and in getting them photographed, interrupt literary composition,
like proofing blocks and preparing them for the press; and this
hindering is troublesome because of the untiring research among books
of many sorts, with unceasing verification, that chapters on history need.
Anything that breaks in upon research increases the strain of prolonged concentration, often causing mistakes which writers somehow
fail to see. >
22 ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
Next, writing on art differs from other writing ; it has problems of its
own which cannot be solved by the handling of words. These problems
have never been studied in a handbook, and few reviewers know them at
all intimately. So they are worth summing up. Although art-criticism
has been admitted into daily journalism (you see, dealers and publishers
and exhibitions advertise in the Press), there is no kindredship between
words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, pages, and those qualities of art
which are profuse in subtle and varied combinations of coloured forms
patterned with moving light and shade.
Now colour is to a painter's work what the timbre of his voice is to his
daily talk, being all his own colour, just as the timbre of his voice belongs
to this one voice alone : hence every writer on art who is really sensitive
to the differing appeals of colour would rejoice if he could find words in
which to make clear to his readers how one painter's colour differs from
another's. Has this ever been done ? No, and it never will be done, just
as words will never describe aptly the difference between two voices, or
between the tones of two violins. Even in vivid, or primal, effects of colour,
like several tints of brilliant red, you will find it impossible to convey in
words correctly what the eye detects at a glance, the precise difference
separating tint from tint. And all the capital qualities of good design, their
subtleties, peculiar rhythms, and elusive diversities, belong for ever to the
criticism of eyesight, not to the literary criticism of long-sought phrases.
Analogies help somewhat, as when we speak of daffodil yellow ; but the best
aid of all, after accepting the limits of one's craft, is right interpretation of
a painter's dominant quality, his vigour or his gentleness, for instance, the
writer's own style adapting itself to the painter's, and becoming like
the painter's. Never trust a writer on art who draws a contrast between
two markedly different painters without responding in his prose to the
style of either of them. Similarly, be distrustful when superfine writing
takes him away from sympathetic interpretation.
Dogmatical censure is right only when a big artist allows himself to be
misled by too much praise, and trifles with his good genius, as Sir Edwin
Landseer did.
Though it is impossible in several respects to write well about painting, yet
the handling of words is much freer in ^illustrated books and articles than
in articles and books which have many prints and plates, when a writer
considered as a writer is always sacrificed—and sacrificed inevitably, and
in several ways—to the illustrations.    He is an art-editor as well as a writer, HOW TO BEGIN AND HOW TO END
23
for instance, so his research is twofold ;  he has a pair of books to produce
within the same binding ; and the chapters themselves, their composition and
their method of appeal, are thwarted continuously by the need of numerous
prints and plates, which attract everybody's attention away from the chapters |
and their history.
You see, however numerous the illustrations may be, they need neither
much time nor fatiguing concentration from anyone who looks at them closely ;
and because they excite curiosity, and give us the feeling that we are very
busy with our minds when we are not really so, it is always to them that we
turn as soon as we buy a book on the history of pictures. Many persons
are too lazy to go from the prints and plates into the chapters, and only
a person here and there starts out from the beginning and reads on to the
end. As a rule, indeed, the reading is done at random, in a scrappy and
patchy manner, a page or so here, a half-chapter there, and a whole chapter
in another place, not many readers making the same first choice. And
these being the invariable effects of many illustrations, their incessant influence
on readers is a thing to be remembered in the literary composition. The
writer must give to his subject-matter quite as much devoted care as other
writers give to theirs, but his handling must be different, since his chapters
will be read in a non-consecutive way, as anthologies are. By hook or by
crook he must comply with conditions which he cannot alter, any more than
a dramatist can alter the conditions imposed upon him, partly by the stage
itself, and partly by new social fashions and old social customs. Intense
abbreviation is the art which modern playwrights have studied throughout
their professional experience. Take The Gay Lord Quex as an example.
It contains 28,421 printed words, and only 17,805 are in the dialogue :
an average of 4452 words per act. Here the craft of writing has enforced
upon it from outside a painful and continuous discipline of cramp, yet it
must seem free, free and at ease, so that its human illusions may appear
to be like real persons living among unartificial surroundings.
In the craft which I go on studying, year after year, there is also much
compression and much rewriting, but directness in development is a thing
to be shunned, because it needs readers who read consecutively. The thing
to be attained, as well as one is able to get it, is a discursive orderliness, a
roundabout method. The chapters should move not as literary steamers,
but as literary sailing ships. There is nothing rosy in How to Begin
and How to End.   IIS
hil CHAPTER I
A WALTON IN WATER-COLOUR : THE LATE ERNEST BRIGGS, R.I.
He is the only painter of our time whose name, whenever we see it in print,
or hear it spoken, should recall to memory a large number of pictures that
belong, directly or indirectly, to Angling in British Art. Though attracted
by other motifs also, he is at his best when he makes lyrics in colour, and
particularly in water-colour, to express his deep affection for the Scottish
countrysides where he angled.
Ernest Briggs wrote very well on his angling experiences, like several
artists among his forerunners ; and I remember that three living writers on
fishing—the delightful humorist, William Caine, Mr. J. Shirley-Fox, and
Mr. Romilly Fedden—are painters.1 I choose Briggs for my first chapter,
not because I wish to magnify his gifts, but because we have the whole of his
work as a Walton who painted with diligent sincerity.
II
In his art, which developed slowly, Briggs recorded from year to year how
he loved the magic of country life by riversides and on lakes, but he did not
live long enough to reap the full reward of his patience, a patience so humble
that it caused him to look upon himself as a lifelong beginner. Many other
painters of his generation, with no more talent, took the word " originality "
for their guide, and tried with far-sought and dear-bought efforts to give
art a new earth and a new heaven, telling themselves and the world that,
of course, the proper aim for inventive minds will for ever be the production
of something unexpected and quite new. Briggs thought no more about
novelty-hunting than Charles Lamb thought of Coleridge's planned Panti-
socracy, where all the virtues were to thrive ; and as Lamb was original because
1 Romilly Fedden's Golden Days from the Fishing-Log of a Painter in Brittany was published 26
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
he was born so, and because he never wished to be anyone but himself, so
Briggs made his home in the studies that he liked best, and paid no heed to
current speculations, with the coming and going of miraculous new " isms."
Then, at the very moment when his gradual advance was becoming rapid,
fortune became his foe, and he died suddenly, from heart disease, in his
forty-eighth year.
Is he to be among the short-lived artists who live on in their best work
after they are dead ? Tom Girtin is one of the Futurists who died young ;
Bonington is another, like William Muller, George Mason, Fred Walker,
John Leech, Charles Furse ; and let us hope that Ernest Briggs, in his
happiest work as a painter-angler, will not die twice. Why should he not
find a home in that delightful old-English fondness for pastoral pleasures
which Izaak Walton inherited, and which has done more than anything else
to make The Compleat Angler very welcome to that general reader who does
generally read ? If Walton had confined himself to fishing technique alone,
as Peter Beckford at a later date confined himself to hunting technique, his
appeal would have been too sectarian for the reading world outside his own
sport.
We learn from Walton, more than from anyone else, that angling in art,
whether in words or in lines and colours, must rise above the technical needs
'of a sport, attaining qualities that are at least near to the imaginative interpretation of nature and life. Now it happens that Ernest Briggs is among a very
small number of painters who have been praised ardently by those fly-fishers
who are not painters also, and who, as a rule, look for literal fact when they
see a picture of their sport, as though art were a window-pane through which
a fisherman is seen busily at work. One of these experts has said of Briggs :
" He is far and away the best angling artist I have any knowledge of." He
adds : " There have been hitherto only three draughtsmen known to me who
combined technical knowledge of angling with the power of delineating the
craft satisfactorily." These words imply, and the implication is unjust,
that Briggs is only a technical illustrator of angling, to whom camera-like
facts are more valuable than elusive problems of landscape and figure
painting.
All genuine artists despise mere literal fact. Indeed, they do not know
literal fact because their eyes see imaginatively, not factfully. This is what
Mr. J. L. Garvin means when he says of Shakespeare : | The imaginative
interpretation of the spirit of life is his aim ; he will not be clogged or hampered
by technical correctitude ; he does not think about it.    These exterior things THE LATE ERNEST BRIGGS, R.I.
27
are but a lantern carried, in itself no guide. To throw more light upon the
mind and heart and soul of man he makes free with details to reveal the inner
truth. Of course, he is right." And J. M. W. Turner keeps us constantly
face to face with the same disregard for literal fact, and the same desire to pass
through finite things into infinitude ; and though the greatest artists have a
guidance of their own which lesser men cannot copy or emulate, yet the
lesser men also, if they intend to do their best, must remember that visual
objects should be to their handicraft what items of building material are to
great architecture. There is no future in a literal fact unless it is put by the
right skill into the right place to help a piece of constructive work that is
worth bringing to completion. Separate leaves are literal facts, and we cannot
see trees correctly till we mass the leaves into foliage, and note the distinguishing patterns made by light and shade on the foliage of different species
and genera of trees. This way of seeing is a synthesis, an act of composition ; and as soon as laymen begin to see trees intelligently, synthetically,
they begin to draw near to the needs of painters, whose brushes and
pigments are used all day long in the necessary act of cancelling superabundant facts, in order to produce a general effect which is within the
province  of art.
In other words, to know precisely how much to leave out, how much to
leave in, and what at the last should be added in a few touches—these questions
weigh upon an artist both during and after his hours of constructive labour.
In the case of Ernest Briggs they were always exceedingly difficult questions,
because he was not a painter born, a painter with a style in his blood, like
J. S. Sargent.
Born of Yorkshire parents in 1866, at Broughty Ferry, near Dundee, he
was educated partly at the London University Schools, partly at the Leeds
University, where he began to study for a mining engineer ; but his health
being delicate, he persuaded his parents to let him take up art. Briggs
worked at the Slade School, also at Hetherley's, like John Lavery, and
then in Italy, where he travelled with Charles Holroyd.1 His early pictures
were mainly a record of the English Lake districts. In his twenty-third
year, 1889, he found his way as exhibitor into the Royal Academy, with a
Birket Foster-like bit of country-life called " Strawberry Gatherers."
Afterwards, every year, the R.A. hung some of his work, and his last
exhibit, in 1913, was bought for the Chantrey Bequest.
1 Afterwards Sir Charles Holroyd, Director of the National Gallery, London, from 1903 to
1917. 28
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
His favourite scenery, like his favourite angling, was in Scotland, and I
may add with truth that excellent fly-fishing was always very much easier to
him than any result of his practice as a painter. To gain mastery over his
brush, to work well with technical inspiration, not merely with patient care,
this was the ideal that he kept before his mind as the thing best worth striving
for with courage. As angler he had nothing more to learn, while as a painter
he remained always at a new beginning, that lured him on and on into uncertain
adventure. If he put his genial sport into a picture, his angler certainly did
the right thing in the right way, but always in careful subordination to other
and much greater varieties of knowledge, which he valued all the more highly
because they eluded his brushes and colours, keeping him face to face with
problems of art which he feared that he could never solve. Hence I should
be very unjust if I spoke of him as an illustrator of angling.
On three occasions he painted his own portrait in angling pictures : l
i. " The Fir-Tree Island below the Linn," in the valley of the Ken ;  a
small figure standing on the rocky bankside, left;
2. " Loch Lundy and Ben Tee from above Invergarry," where Briggs
in the middle distance angles from a boat; 2
3. " A Fight for a Life," another boating episode, where a hooked 30-lb.
salmon hurls himself from Loch Poulary.
To portray how a fly-fisher holds his rod, or how he chooses from the act
of casting, a movement which is not altogether unpaintable ; to show how,
when alone, he lands his catch, or how he stands in a river when a strong
current of water swirls against his legs, while his line is electric with a salmon
well hooked ; these things were ABC to Briggs, while his adventures among
the problems of landscape painting belonged to an enchanted alphabet of
art which extended indefinitely beyond XYZ. Consider, for instance, the
handling of swift water in paint under changing light from a variable sky.
Oh ! the troubles, the cares, the repetitions of half-failure, over and over
again, that weigh upon every artist who falls in love with the country, and who
has courage to unite figure-painting to landscape ! Jean Francois Millet,
referring to this drama of strife, says : " Art is not a diversion. It is a conflict,
a complication of wheels in which one is crushed." The peculiarity of Briggs
was that, though he would have agreed with Millet, he bore his inevitable
lot as a painter with a true angler's untiring patience ;   and partly for this
1 See the plates in colour facing pp. 54, 98, and 122, Angling and Art in Scotland. A good
water-colour portrait of Briggs, shown vigorously in the act of angling at Luib, was painted for
Mrs. Briggs by A. T. Nowell, and I have chosen it for a plate in colour.
2 This picture is in the J. B. Taylor Collection, Wynberg Park, South Africa,  I
*i THE   LATE   ERNEST   BRIGGS,   R.I. 29
reason his work remained entirely English, with a charm similar to that of
the songs which Izaak Walton loved.
Ill
One of my friends has said that Briggs would not have remained serene
in his art if " he hadn't let off steam as a thorough fly-fisher." This may well
be true. Productive work in all of the arts has reactions from ardour into
depression ; and hence the furtive unhappiness that overshadowed Turner's
lonely life. Michelangelo said that the birthday of a human being should be
regarded not as a day of joy but as a day of mourning ; and who does not
remember also what Dr. Johnson wrote of " the black dog " ? Happy is the
artist who, when his black dog begins to bark, turns with joy to a hobby,
as Gainsborough turned to his music ! If young artists of the past had made
it their hobby to be sportsmen also, they and their friends would have had a
great deal less to fear in the unstable moods which have caused them to suffer
greatly, and often to stumble badly.
Ernest Briggs said of angling that it put out of mind the worries of everyday
life. When he fished, a hooked salmon or trout became to him what a
battle nearly won is to a cool general.
Once he admitted that he lost for a while his coolness after hooking a
walloper. It was on Loch Poulary when he raised and struck a 30-lb.
salmon while angling with a light trout rod :
" Thaat's him ! " cried his ghillie, Ronald ; and Briggs knew that only a
very large fish could have made that slow and sullen disturbance of the water,
which left an impression on his mind's eye of a glimpse of purple and
silver.
After waiting till the movement was quite complete, he gave the necessary
sharp strike from the wrist:
" Hooked ! yes ! Or were the boat and I hooked to the fish, to be towed
everlastingly about at the sweet will of the huge creature ? At present, as
he swam in measured and stately fashion around the boat, he seemed oblivious
of the fact that a dangerous hook was in his mouth ; but how long would that
last ? What would be his next move ? Such questions as these lashed the
mind, as with knees playing like castanets, one held on with hopeless determination to the alarmingly convex trout rod. ... In the meantime, at any rate,
the fish was behaving in a gentlemanly and sober manner, which allowed the
decks to be cleared for action—also allowed me to recover some of the ordinary
composure necessary in such an emergency. . . ." 3°
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
For twenty minutes Briggs looked steadily, with eyes that ached, and
became dimmed with mist, at the point where his line, like a thin bar of steel,
cut its way through the water, as Ronald followed the fish around the loch,
always watching for a visible sign of the sudden change in tactics which the
big creature would be obliged to make.
Now and then Briggs exerted a firmer pressure on the unseen fish, and a
series of electric shocks passed up the line. The salmon was losing his temper,
and all at once he made a run, taking out fully fifty yards of line at lightning
speed, then pitching himself sideways clean out of the water—a flash as of
animated quicksilver. " My heart," says Briggs, | came into my mouth,
and it took several swallows to get it back into place. There is something
superb in a display of strength such as this. . . ."
With trepidation Briggs raised the point of his rod. Ah ! the line
tightened, the fish was still on ! Then inch by inch, as in a tug of war, the
fifty yards of line was taken on the reel again, till at last the fish was near once
more to the boat, and another sulky procession around the loch began.
Dinner-time had passed, the day was closing towards dusk, and the salmon
was not in the least fagged.    Indeed, he sulked formidably.
| All that could be done to rouse the monster was done, and in the end
the simple expedient of tapping the extremity of the butt of the rod with a
small stone was successful. Away he went again, to the accompaniment of
the raucous shrieking of my reel. Would he never stop ? There were only
seventy-five yards of line altogether ; but on, on he went, and smaller and
smaller, and thinner and thinner became that coil of silk upon the drum of
my reel. At last the fatal moment arrived ; the last yard of line was run
out. I pointed the rod at the fish, and stretched out my rod to the utmost,
with the vain idea of gaining another yard or so. There was one fierce pull,
and for an instant the water boiled in the far distance, and then—the sickening
slackening of the line.
" May it be put down to my credit! I merely remarked : « You can
row home now, Ronald,' as I slowly wound up the loose line. Fortunately
Ronald helped me, or I might have burst.
" But what was this ? the line was beginning to tighten up again. ' By
Jove ! he's on, he's on still! ' I shouted. And so he was. The sudden strain
at the end of such a long rush had stopped the fish and turned him back. . . .
" With feverish haste I wound in the slack, trying to keep pace with the
fish which was running now at furious speed toward the boat; again, as at
the end of the first rush, did he hurl himself bodily out of the water ; but this
time he nearly terminated his career for good and all, by flinging himself
into the boat. THE LATE ERNEST BRIGGS, R.I.
3i
I ' Man ! was thaat no wicked? ' exclaimed Ronald, smacking his lips
with relish over the word ; and I thought the epithet well-fitted for the
circumstance. ..."
After another tremendous run the salmon played a wily trick, for, while
Briggs was looking eagerly straight ahead, a swish and a plunge were heard
all at once behind his back ; the angler turned swiftly, and was just in time to
see the monster throw himself out of the water on the farthest side of the boat.
For a moment Briggs took it to be another salmon ; but no, it was his old foe,
who had moved in a circle under water, and had still enough vigour to display
once more an astounding agility.
Briggs knew that his line, in a complete bow, had to pull against the whole
weight of enclosed water; and when the gut gave way, suddenly, he was
not at all ashamed to be defeated by such a champion.
This good fight is taken from the painter's autobiography, Angling and
Art in Scotland, a book of vivid and genial observation. There are also
thirty-two plates in colour, that show a wide range of art. The blocks were
approved by Briggs himself, and, with very kind permission from Mrs. Briggs
and the Executors, I am able to include several of them in my choice of illustrations. In this I am very fortunate, as the best water-colours of angling by
Ernest Briggs are far-scattered in private collections. One set of half a dozen
belongs to Mr. J. B. Taylor, of Wynberg in South Africa, for example. Only
one large print (iofin. by 15^ in.) has been published after Briggs, " Trout
Fishing on the Tummel " ; so that prints in books should be valued highly.
In Fishing at Home and Abroad, a 10-guinea volume published by the
London and Counties Press (1913), there are some good things by Ernest
Briggs, bound up in the part written by Sir Herbert Maxwell, Bart.; but it
is to the artist's illustrated autobiography that I go with the greatest pleasure.
The Frontispiece is a happy portrait of a sportswoman in the act of angling,
touched with a studying gentleness of hand that recalls the figurework in
water-colour by a much earlier artist, J. M. Wright, who lived from 1777 to
1866. E. J. Gregory's dainty record has a closer observation in the liquid
brushwork, and James Linton, rightly called the Metsu of English Water-
Colour, would have put a more constructive precision into the lady's figure.
In this portrait Briggs is pretty near to the " stained " method of water-colour,
the earliest method, in which artists were draughtsmen who tinted their work,
not painters who desired to be great colourists. But ambition grew, and
through more than a century painters in water-colour have been in vogue,
often as competitors against oil-pigments.    It has happened generally that I
32
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
craftsmen of every sort have tried to extend the boundaries imposed upon them
by their chosen materials, and have become more and more ambitious, ornate
and opulent, till at last they have caused a reaction against themselves.
To-day, indeed, an attempt is being made to revive and renew the real water-
colour drawing, and anglers should remember this fact when they need
technical illustrations of their craft.
Though Briggs in some of his water-colours came near to the staining
method, his heart was set on the means by which he could pass through
draughtsmanship into free painting ; and it is certain also that his practice
as a fly-fisher, by storing his mind with landscapes, first in the Yorkshire dales,
stimulated his ambition as a painter. He says, for example, in his
autobiography:
" There are two Arts that might aptly walk side by wide, as Plato walks
with Aristotle in Raphael's ' School of Athens.' The one is the Art of
Landscape Painting, the other,' The Gentle Art,' the ancient craft of Angling ;
and in the beautiful land of Scotland, either may be pursued to the utmost
limit of advantage.
" They have much in common ; each requires an observant eye, and a
hand trained to obey that eye ; and hidden in the bosom of each lie the keys
of the mystery and the poetry contained in the great field of Nature. Moreover, there is one closely-connected link for all time between them ; it is
that common, though wonderful and ever-changing fluid, which we call Water.
" A landscape painting may possess charm without the introduction
of that exquisite element into its composition, but a roomful of such would
appear monotonous ; for whether water be placid and calm, or turbulent and
rushing, or whether it be invested—as in its more awful moods—with a terrible
and sublime power, at all times it exercises upon the human mind an influence
beyond the pale of every other element; while for angling, water is a necessity.
" A man may be a painter and yet not art angler, though it were better for
him were he both ; for in the pursuit of angling he would gain a wider knowledge of Nature and the habits of her creatures—of the tone relations of water
to sky. And so also may he be a fisherman and yet not paint landscapes, but
were he to do so he would find an added delight in his rambles by river and
lake, for the angler appreciates the beauties of scenery more than others,
through his intimate knowledge of Nature.
" So are the two crafts strongly allied, and to the man who can combine
them falls the largest share of enjoyment. . . ."
IV
When Briggs in his book angles for the first time in Galloway, accompanied
by his three brothers, he and they are in their early teens and velveteens. Pllsp^ 111!!
fjillWl! '             •  "X    \           '-      'n'     v             -   ._   ->.
pgjgl
1ft.    ,& •
Hi
I
!
THE   GENTLE   ART.    Frontispiece to " Angling and Art in   Scotland,
(Longmans, igoS), written and illustrated by ERNEST   BRIGGS,   R.I. (1866  THE LATE ERNEST BRIGGS, R.I.
33
They made their headquarters at Dairy, St. John's Town of Dairy, as it is
called in the Ordnance Map, a village on the banks of the Ken, with a street
of whitewashed cottages, primly neat and strong, that climb eastward into a
health-giving wind. The boys learn that there are six good women in the
village who have reached the noble old age of ninety.
As country lads of every rank will always wish to pass through their primitive
angle-age, often with a bent pin and a piece of whipcord tied to a stick, I
love to read about boy-anglers, and to see them in pictures. They are types
of the very earliest fishers, so the romance of their sport makes the far-distant
near, and the primeval past present. Also, as J. M. Webb's American
Angling Song says :
" The urchin with the pin and string
Can chum with millionaire and king ;
Vain pride is a forgotten thing
Out angling."
But Briggs at thirteen does not appear before us as a primitive ; he is
trying to become an expert, and his brothers are rivals. Still, they remain
boys, and the chapters on their adventures are good to read. Ernest fishes
with worms, while the others, cocky and cocksure, tickle the water with
flies, and he hates them for it. Generally they beat him in numbers, but
his fish, he believes, are of a larger size. Towards the end of their tour,
Ernest gives himself up to the charms of fly-fishing, never again to take to the
worm, except as a last resource.
One brother is called | The Skipper " because he knows how to make plans
and how to enforce them, while another is " The Duke," his manners being
persuasive, and his habits extravagant. He is decorated with flies and casts ;
worms fall frequently from his pockets ; also, with uncomfortable haste, he
puts his rod together as he walks to a riverside, and begins to fish before
the others. Even worse, he catches more fish, though his brothers are certain
that his tackle can never be depended upon.
In their first adventure on the Black Water of Dee they catch perhaps a
dozen decent fish, extremely beautiful trout to look at, " having a multiplicity
of black spots, on a creamy ground, with an iridescent sheen over all." A
pounder is a big trout in the Black Water of Dee, and anglers on the Test and
Itchen, who catch three- and four-pounders, may turn up their noses at a
pounder gloriously coloured. " Yet there is no doubt," says Briggs, | that a
fine-conditioned pound trout, in many lochs and rivers of Scotland, will,
when hooked, give quite as much trouble to kill as the three-pounder in the r
i
34
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH  ART
Test, and even run farther and faster. Why the fish should be so much
more game for their size in the north I do not know, but it is an accredited
fact."
The chapters have some very good character-sketches. There is one of
Don Malloch, an old keeper who works for Mr. Place of Loch Dochart House,
in a Perthshire glen, and who keeps watch arid ward over two heather-fringed
lochs, Lochs Marachan and Essan. Then there is Tam Lambie, a very tall
shepherd, with very long, attenuated legs, a sort of petrified human body,
who aids Briggs in a combined attack on Don Malloch's refusal to allow fishing
in Essan and Marachan. The keeper is happy to get drunk on whisky
supplied by Briggs, and glad also to agree that he is Mr. Place when Mr. Place
is awa'; but, drunk or sober, he never allows Briggs to throw his fly over
those two enchanted lochs, where 1 twa wee bit fushes " caught by Malloch,
are described by Tam Lambie as " twenty-twa and twenty-sax pund." The
whole scene is Stevensonian, and thus a credit to Scotland for ever ! In spite
of too much whisky, Malloch lived to be more than ninety-one, for at this
age he made a grave mistake while angling on Loch Dochart. A very small
trout took his fly, and Malloch hurled it over his head into the water again.
Briggs watched this rapid change from fly-fishing to the activity of an enchanted
flying-fish. Malloch came ashore to Briggs, and talked in a voice that echoed
and re-echoed among the surrounding hills. He was nearly deaf, but his
memory seemed to be good, and his congenital thirst remained as amiable as
Falstaff's.
Briggs knew at Tomdown a young boatman called Angus, who spoke
very gently and slowly, with a soft and pleasant Highland drawl, but who
treated some of his employers with tyrannical downrightness. One morning
Angus went out on Loch Poulary with an elderly Scotsman, Mr. C, a
humorous little man with a mild temperament. In the evening they returned
with two magnificent specimens of Salmo ferox, weighing respectively twelve
and thirteen pounds. Next morning Briggs spoke to Angus about the catch,
offering his congratulations, but Angus, only half-pleased, answered :
I Indeed—yes—sir !—they—were—fery—nice fish. But we should
have had a better basket than thaat. Ay ! It wass this way, ye see. It
would be about ten o'clock when I was starting to row up the loch, and fery
soon after C. was putting out the trolls ; a fish cam' on one of the rods with a
g-r-e-a-t rush, and away went the reel.    While I wass winding in the spare
rod, C, he wass playing the big fish ; and chest then she made a great run	
and what did he do—but he must catch the handle of his reel in his watchgyard, THE LATE ERNEST BRIGGS, R.I.
35
indeed yes ! And as any individual would be telling, snap went the steel
t-r-a-c-e, as she might be a thread, and the fish, she wass away.
" The old chentleman he says, ' Eh ! that's a peety, Angus ! but never
mind, mebbe we'll have another chance again.   We'll have a dram, Angus.'
" But I says to him, says I, ' No. I'll no have a dram ! It wass a fery
foolish trick, whatever ! '
I j Ay, Angus,' says he, ' it wass thaat! but indeed I did not mean to
do it; chest have a dram for luck, Angus.'
I But I says to the old chentleman, ' Tamn yer drams,' says I, { I'll no
have a dram !    It wass a fery silly thing to do.'
" So he would be having his dram alone. Yes, yes—chest by himself.
But after he was putting fresh taeckle on his rod, we started again, and he
had hardly got the line out when—I'll be blowed !—but another big fish cam'
on ! and the old chentleman he wass fery nervous, he wass shaking like the
top of the rod ; he would be thinking of the way he wass losing the last one.
But I got this fish aall right; it was one of those fairack, and a fery fine fish
it wass. Old C, he wass chest as proud as Punch, and he says to me,' What
did I say, Angus, we would be getting another chance yet ? Ye'll have to
tak' a dram now, Angus.'
" \ Na, na,' I says ; \ it's a graand fish, but it'll no bring back the one ye
lost, whatever.'
" It wass fery game that fairack, and it took us a long time to land : by
thaat time it would be lence-time, and we cam' ashore.
" It was after lence when we got the second fairack. The old chentleman,
he wass for trying the fly, but I told him I would stick to the minnow, for she
wass taking fery well, and we would have had twa big fish aalready if it wass
not for his tamned foolish behaviour.
| It wass no long indeed before I hookit the other fairack, and I told
old C. to take care of his watchgyard this time, for it wass a wonderful chance
he wass having to hook three big fish in one day "
" Interrupting, Briggs said : ' And so you got your third fish all right ?'
" Ay ! we got the third fish aall right; and it wass a fery «z-rious thing,
although the old chentleman wass so foolish over the first fish, I said to him,
' Well, well, I'll tak' a dram with ye now, for indeed I never saw any individual
with so much luck. . . .' "
Briggs writes also of another ghillie, John Campbell, " probably the best
salmon fisherman at Dalmally " :
" He is indeed one of the prettiest and neatest casters that a man need
wish to see. . . . None of the new-fangled ideas find favour with John. He
swears by a good eighteen or nineteen feet salmon rod and heavy line. He
despises the degeneracy of the modern school, with its preference for light
fourteen or sixteen feet rods, and tackle to match ;  and it is surprising-—in 36
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
spite of his short stature—how delicately, and with what precision, he can
make the fly drop on the water, with the heavy weapon which he affects. . . .
In spite of his being a devoted fisherman, Campbell also holds the singular
idea that the only incident worth caring about in salmon fishing, is the hooking of the fish. After that feat is accomplished, he feels no further interest
or excitement in the playing and landing part of the business. When John
made this statement to me, I questioned him further, suggesting, in that case,
that it did not matter to him whether the fish were subsequently landed, or
lost. But he then showed a certain inconsistency, inasmuch as he confessed
that, after hooking a fish and handing the rod to another party, should the
salmon break away, he would feel absolutely miserable for the rest of the
day.
" I have heard of other lordly sportsmen who consider, having hooked a
salmon, that the ensuing proceedings have little interest for them, and merely
hand over the rod to an attendant for him to despatch the fish—an action
which is beyond the comprehension of most mortals. It is no doubt very
well to feel that you have hooked a salmon nicely ; but in about five cases
out of six, the fish is invisible when he takes the fly, consequently there is very
little skill exercised, or excitement gained, in the fact of hooking him. The
skill lies in the casting, and in the management of the fish, after he is hooked ;
and the excitement is caused by the wish to know what his size may be, and
by the uncertainty of being able to predict what course of behaviour he may
adopt to free himself, before he is finally deposited upon the bank."
Dr. Edward Hamilton quotes from a fly-fisher who says : *
" The chief glory of salmon fishing lies in the rise, which is certainly
magnificent, and the only difficulty of the capture as a rule consists in the
strike. So much is this the case that I have known veteran salmon fishers
who, when salmon were plentiful, made it a habit to resign the rod into the
hands of an assistant after checking the first rush or two ; not that I blame the
salmon fisher."
Hamilton, I fear, would have quarrelled with John Campbell, for he had
no patience with this attitude toward salmon fishing :
" It shows such ignorance ! " he declares. | Why, any tyro can raise
a salmon and hook him, because, in ninety-nine times out of a hundred,
the fish, from his mode of taking the fly, hooks himself, and fine casting,
although it may be necessary in some cases, is as a rule not so very important;
but it requires considerable skill, with a proper accompaniment of patience
and perseverance, to kill a salmon. The cream of the sport is the excitement
of playing and killing a fish—not in the rise. . . ."
1 Recollections of Fly-fishing, Salmon, Trout, and Grayling. By Edward Hamilton, M.D.,
F.L.S., etc., 1884, pp. 9-10.  I THE LATE ERNEST BRIGGS, R.I.
37
When specialists differ, onlookers have reason to thank heaven that variety
and relativity are amusing. Why should not a John Campbell enjoy sport in
his own way, after he has become a veteran in the art of playing and landing
salmon ?
Briggs picks a bone gently with Andrew Lang, who says in his Angling
Sketches that little artifice is required in loch fishing. Briggs loves river
fishing as keenly as Lang, and admits that it is less friendly to duffers than
fishing from a boat in a loch, but he cannot find fault with one sport because
it differs from another. When fishing from a boat, he says, more fish are
risen when a long line is cast, and the act of hooking them needs more skill
than in shorter throws.   He adds :
" There is no doubt that a great deal of skill is exercised in the striking
of trout in still water : and the angler must have quick sight and a delicate
touch, so that he may be instantly aware when a fish is taking the fly, even
below the surface. Those few seconds of hesitation so often lose the fish.
Unlike a salmon, a trout requires to be struck instantaneously on sight,
except on those occasions when he throws himself right out, or half out
of the water, taking the fly on his downward course ; in which case several
seconds should be allowed before striking—by no means an easy thing to
remember. . . ."
In river fishing it is a fatal thing to drag your flies through the water ;
there is a current which carries the fly for a considerable distance, causing
it to pass in a natural way over many trout; and if you drag it towards you,
and thus across, or against the current, the movement of the fly is unnatural.
" But in a loch," says Briggs, " if no motion is given to the fly, it simply
sinks in one spot, and so loses the chance of covering much water. It is
better to allow the fly to remain perfectly quiescent for a few seconds, simply
because a fly which is sunk deeper and drawn upwards is more deadly.
Why should that be so ? Probably because fish feed more on flies which
are rising up through the water than on those which are floating on the
surface. The deadfiness of that destructive machine known as the otter,
which drags along a series of submerged flies, would alone point to the fact
that it is not detrimental to obtaining good sport on a lake to move flies
through the water at a fairly rapid pace. It is also a most noticeable fact,
in some lakes, that more trout can be caught by trolling the flies behind the
boat, than by casting. This is, fortunately, by no means always the case ;
in fact, in many places, that mode of fishing gives small results. But on a
good many lochs, notably on a certain loch in Sutherlandshire, which I
I I
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
have fished, it is decidedly so. On this loch, many more fish can be caught
by slowly rowing the boat along, with trailing flies, than by the most untiring
casting. And in casting, the deeper the flies are sunk, the more likelihood
is there of catching fish, for the trout, when they do rise, seldom break
the surface of the water. . . ." x
Whenever Briggs writes of trout, the minor royalties of the freshwater
states, he is particularly himself, as though he likes them even more than he
likes the great and mysterious autocrat, the salmon. As a rule, specialist
anglers give their hearts to the sea trout, one of the gamest fish that swims.
Francis Francis said of the sea trout: " like the champion of the light weights,
when he is hooked, he is here, there, and everywhere, now up, now down,
now in the water, and now out." As boxing matches between light weight
swimmers have never been a sport, I don't know why the activity of hooked
sea trout should suggest to any mind the movements of a boxer on land.
This analogy would never have been chosen by a painter-angler, and I
note also that Cholmondeley Pennell chose simpler and better words
when he wrote of the sea trout :
| There is no fish that swims," he said, " which will rise so boldly at
the fly, or which when hooked shows for its size such indomitable English
pluck, I was about to say, but at any rate, such gallant and determined courage ;
in fact, the bright, graceful Salmo trutta is the most game and mettlesome,
if not on the whole the most beautiful, fish known to Europe, or probably
to the world."
Would Briggs have agreed to all this laudation ? I think not. Certainly
he would have smiled over the very feeble descriptive phrase, " the bright,
graceful Salmo trutta " ; and his many experiences with Scottish loch trout
would have prevented him from writing dictatorially about the gameness
of different fish. In his autobiography he notes again and again the courage
of small trout, like those of Lochinvar, which may average about half a pound
on a good day, with an occasional pounder with which to top up his basket.
He has never seen a fish heavier than a pound and a quarter taken out of
Lochinvar, but, whatever the size, all are of excellent quality, and exceedingly game when hooked : rather long in shape, with very large tails, which
give them great power in the water.
Briggs knew Lochinvar in its best days, when Thomas Burnside, a gamekeeper of the old school, ruled over the fishing, with so much caution that
he never admitted that any day was good for sport, lest the reputation of
1 Angling and Art in Scotland, pp. 156-157. THE   LATE   ERNEST   BRIGGS,   R.I. 39
his loch should be harmed by a poor catch. If you arrived in the morning
at the lochside, and saw the water dimpled with rising fish, Burnside would
pour a chill over your hope by saying : " Na, na ! thaat's no the right thing
at a'; there's a nasty glassy glare on the waterr." If your face still remained
in the least ardent, Burnside would add : | I dinna like thae nasty, white,
towrin' paaks [high thunder-clouds] ; the troot never tak' when they're
aboot." On the other hand, if the morning happened to be crystal-clear,
with no white towering clouds, and if you mentioned these facts to Burnside,
the old gamekeeper would shake his head solemnly. | Ah, no," he would
answer, " but likely they'll get up with the day ! I fear there's ower muckle
fire in the air the day." Even if the morning were ideal for fishing, with a
greyish sky and a steady breeze from the west, Burnside would guard his
loch from any possible chance of disappointing you, by saying with grim
foreboding : | I like not that slated appearance on the waterr."
When Burnside was not rowing on his loch he loved to pose at a funeral,
a six-footer of immutable sorrow. To anglers who found him away from
home, his wife would say in a routine, " Likely he'll be at a funeral; I
think I heard there was ane aboot somewhere." •
Many a year ago he came at last to his own end of ends, his long hame ;
he did not live to know that his friend Briggs had put him lovingly into a
book, with a picture of his cottage by the lochside, and a fine tumble of
flushed clouds gathering high above a background of mountains.
VI
Among the thirty-two coloured plates there are a dozen of active angling,
but all of the others are associated in a great many minds with memories
of pleasant fishing, like the Lochs Poulary, Skae, and Wee, and the River
Tummel at Pitlochry. The landscapes drawn in words are loyally Scottish,
like the water-colours ; and when I remember that this happy book was published in 1908, just five years before its author's early death, I remember also
its final paragraph, which refers to the health and strength that Scotland's
mountain air bestows on sportsmen :
I Ah ! a man feels young in Glendochart even at the age of ninety.
If you will but live your life out of doors in this envied valley, fishing-rod
in hand in summer, and gun or curling stone in winter, you can put behind
you all fear of ill-health or old age. . . ."
Briggs was thinking of Don Malloch, and of many another veteran who 40
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
had lived to be hale at ninety. Of himself he thought little. One may
doubt whether angling and its excitements were as good for Ernest Briggs
as he believed they were, since it was heart disease that cut short the brief
seasons of his perishable days ; but if at all bad for his delicate health, they
filled his pictures with freshness, and his autobiography with friendliness.
It was never my lot to meet him, but his companionship circulates
from his work, convincing me that Ernest Briggs did more for angling in
art—as painter, as writer, and as fly-fisher—than was done by anyone of
his contemporaries. But one of his best friends, Norman Wilkinson, is
following his example, so that some school traditions of angling in art are
being formed north of the Tweed. We may call them tartan traditions
added to the old history of British sporting pictures and prints. I   II
ANGLING IN   SCOTLAND, 1879.   From an <
ing (34in.X74hin.) by  DAVID   FARQUHARSON
STRATH FILLAN AND THE DOCHART, PERTHSHIRE, WITH A LEAPING SALMON. Dated ify-S.
From  a picture by   HENRY   MOORE,   R A.   (1881-1895).     Victoria CHAPTER II
THE LAND-AND-SEA  PAINTERS   IN  THEIR RELATION  TO  ANGLING
Norman Wilkinson is the most prominent living artist who has
blended the land and sea, while showing in his varied work that he is devoted
to angling, as a painter who is also a fly-fisher. So I wish to connect him with
a noble tradition in British Art which has not yet received enough study
from writers, though it has enabled a few painters, age after age, to reveal
a pretty equal fondness for sea life and riverside landscapes, united sometimes
to marine fishing and Waltonian angling. We need a distinctive word to put
a name upon this dual art, which has been more completely British than landscape painting alone, because it has represented a great deal more of our national
history. Indeed, its continuous appeal as a production of art has needed
the same double-hearted fervour which has made the Nelson Column in
Trafalgar Square a beloved symbol of our little island's dependence on sea
adventures.
About sixty years ago, an impassioned land-and-sea painter, J. C. Hook,
elected a Royal Academician in i860, became so popular that his work was
known for a good many years as Hookscapes, or Hookscape painting, and
one writer declared that the R.A. had preferred the Landseer family even
to its land-seer painters. This remark applied not only to the four Landseers,
John, Edwin, Charles, and Thomas, but also to those landscapists who cared
little for marine pictures—the land-seers like Thomas Creswick, F. R. Lee,
James W. Oakes, and William F. Witherington. As a matter of fact, the R.A.
had been fair to the land-and-sea painters, choosing, from 1885 back to
Turner's election as full-member in 1802, a varied number : Henry Moore,
Colin Hunter, John Brett, Peter Graham, J. C. Hook, E. W. Cooke,
W. Clarkson Stanfield, William Collins, and Sir A. W. Callcott.
When Norman Wilkinson was attracted by this dual art, in 1901, three
influences entered his life as a painter :
1. The enterprise of some of his contemporaries—Brangwyn, Stanhope r
Mi
yi
42
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
Forbes, R. W. Allan, Albert Goodwin, W. L. Wyllie, Edwin Hayes, H. S.
Tuke, C. Napier Hemy, William McTaggart, T. B. Hardy, Adrian Stokes,
and David Farquharson.
2. The special and very different aims of three veterans, J. C. Hook,
Napier Hemy, and John Brett.
3. The receding line of his dead forerunners, which went back as far
as the year 1670, when Peter Monamy was born in Jersey. Thirteen years
after Monamy's birth Walton died in Winchester, at the house of his son-
in-law, Dr. Hawkins ; so we may say that the origin of British land-and-sea
painting dates from Izaak Walton's lifetime.
Not less interesting is the fact that this various phase of art, though
continuous and old, has drawn to itself, period after period, only a small
number of painters, even a very small number when we think of it in relation
to our country's insular position and seafaring needs and tastes. As a
people we react against logic and are seldom rational ; to foreigners we seem
to be an orderly disorder of wayward compromises ; and this explains why
the British marine painters, though few in number, have been obliged by
the practical needs of life to spend a part of their time in popular landscape
painting. Had their work remained always at sea its appeal would not have
been insular enough for the greatest maritime people in the world !
II
When Norman Wilkinson, in 1901, after studying for half a year in
Paris, entered upon his chosen career, Brangwyn had finished his many
sea changes, and I remember in Brangwyn's prolific work only one angling
picture, " An Eastern Izaak Walton," painted on the busy quay at Constantinople, and reproduced by The Graphic in 1891, together with a Brangwyn
sketch of trade fishing from rafts on the Danube.
I have chosen for illustration a typical early picture by H. S. Tuke,
exhibited m 1901 at the R.A. It has a boat which is beautifully drawn, and
the two fisher-boys are really out of doors. The unity between them and
the water and sky manifests that they were painted under the influence of
the same technical inspiration, and by an artist who, while keeping away
from French impressionism, had chosen some valuable hints from the open-
air studies of Jules Bastien-Lepage.
This boat-fishing is in a bay, but similar fishing is done also in lochs,
as several Scottish painters have shown.    Only limits of space have cut out 1 I THE   LAND-AND-SEA   PAINTERS
43
sea-fishing from this book. At present Mr. Tuke has painted nothing in
the freshwater angling world. His catches come out of sea-water, and
this year, in a new boat, his art and sport have been united in new pictures.
To this day he speaks of the " Summer Evening " as one of his best works.
Compare this Tuke with the reproduction of an angling landscape by
David Farquharson ; and then recall to memory other very remarkable
contrasts, like those between Wyllie, Hook, Brett, Napier Hemy, Henry
Moore, William McTaggart, Hamilton Macallum, and Colin Hunter.
In 1901 Wyllie was fifty, and Hook eighty-one ; Colin Hunter was
sixty, but nearing the close of his life ; he died in 1904. John Brett, A.R.A.,
a man of seventy, was within a year of his death, while Henry Moore, R.A.,
a genuine innovator, had ended his career in 1895, at the age of sixty-four.
A year later John Brett passed away, in his seventy-first year, after applying
to landscapes and the sea his faith as a leading supporter of the pre-Raphaelite
School, combined with a passion of his own for scorching light and prismatic
colour.
Hamilton Macallum, who died in 1896, was another of Norman Wilkinson's immediate forerunners, and from time to time he painted a picture
that added a new-note to fishing in art. But he was inclined to overdo his
effects. Now and then he became almost a caricaturist of the sea, so intensely
coloured were the shadows of his dappled water, and so much like burnished
copper were the sun-tanned flesh tones of his fishermen and sailors, and of
his outdoor toilers in the Highlands. In Press criticisms of the eighteen-
seventies, when such a leading paper as The Manchester Courier gave as
many as seven long articles to an exhibition at the Royal Academy, Macallum
had more foes than friends, usually ; but, reviewed now, in his relation to
his opportunities, he was a brave researcher who turned from studio work
to painting in the open air, studying with ardour the mysteries of water
and the magic of sunlight. Like Napier Hemy, who in 1901 was a virile
painter of sixty, Macallum appealed to Norman Wilkinson as opposed to
the influence of John Brett, who tried to attain the quality of mystery, not
by suppressing details, but by calling up into pictorial presence as many
items as he could assemble together within the staring light by which his
colour-sense was more and more fascinated.
In 1886, there was an exhibition of Brett's holiday work done out of doors,
usually from the quarter-deck of his yacht, and left untouched by any revision.
The artist himself wrote for the catalogue a defence of his creed, telling his
critics that if they found too much detail in his pictures, they had only to 44
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
stand farther off, and the detail would not be seen. One writer had complained
that Brett had covered the surface of a canvas with an enormous number of
little waves. Brett answered : " As a matter of fact I can affirm that these
little waves are the only means that Nature herself possesses to express the
largest area ever attempted to be represented by mortal man." The good
man forgot that a multiplicity of little sun-touched waves moving along the
surface of scintillating water could not be imitated on canvas by means of
a multiplicity of little and idle wave-like lines of colour. Apt impressionism
alone can give Art her own varied waters, her own lakes, and rivers, and the
seas. If Brett had told his critics that his eyes were not normal, that their
range of clear-sightedness was uncommonly spacious and vivid, he would
have helped them to understand his aims and methods ; and he might have
added with truth that Turner himself did not reach the period of impressionism till his marvellous eyes had failed a great deal, losing details in a
perception that became more blurred, and thus more synthetic, as age and
incessant work dimmed their sight. We owe vastly more in art to normal
variations of eyesight in ageing painters than critics have admitted. Thus,
for example, Rembrandt's development from delicate precision into enchanted
breadth and mystery is in part a physical change, a fact in the art and science
that oculists of Rembrandt's day practised inexpertly. Even Reynolds
and Turner were unable to buy spectacles which oculists of to-day would
approve. We have only to review the school of engravers trained by Turner's
criticisms in order to learn that, while Turner's eyesight remained wonderfully clear, he was tempted pretty often to set too much store by detail,
as in very minute touches of light on small engraved surfaces of water.
Synthesis was not at all easy to Turner till he reached his final period, when,
owing to failing eyesight, Nature's infinity of details became more and more
a mystery of massed patterns enveloped by atmosphere, a changeful glamour
of forms that appealed to his poetical imagination, in which romance and
realistic drama were fused together.
Brett's eyesight was so uncommon that he said :
" Among sketchers and critics there is a widespread superstition that
distance has a softening effect on the edges of objects ; that mountain profiles when seen through a large extent of dense atmosphere assume a blurred
appearance. The exact reverse of this is true, and the value of finish in
expressing distance depends on the possibility of giving sharpness to the
definition. A far-off mountain, for instance, can be shown with a pale-
grey tint hardly any darker than the sky if its edge is drawn delicately sharp,     THE   LAND-AND-SEA   PAINTERS
45
whereas with a rough handling its presence would not be discernible at all ;
that far-off range would be missing."
As " rough handling " is not a rule in the painting of distances, Brett
was a dodger in controversy, but in Art always there is a conflict of changing
aims that obey the law of action and reaction. And this fact warns us that
the steady action of present-day aesthetic beliefs and methods will cause
in due course a reaction against themselves, carrying us back to one or other
of the, at present, demoded creeds. For this reason, we must be open-minded
when we review the land-and-sea painters, the artists who remind us in
their work that the British people would be unsafe on shore if they failed
to be busy enough also on the sea. Let us remember, too, that those of
them who from time to time made use of angling, as of sea-fishing, help us
to understand how the action and reaction of artistic enterprise have resulted
in the present-day phases of painting. As a rule, the history of schools
and styles is akin to the changes through which great painters generally
pass in their individual development. That is to say, the great artists,
with but few exceptions, have grown from detailed precision through an
increasing breadth of vision into loose freedom, and this development,
usually, is in part physical, as we have seen, and in part aesthetic and technical.
Sir Charles Holmes, commenting on the technical and aesthetic part of this
development, has said that artists and educated critics unite in admiring
the late or free style, while the public unanimously prefer the earlier. " Both
commonly agree on one point—namely, that the period of transition from
the early style to the late style is usually marked by a series of achievements
which, both to the professional and to the layman, appear masterpieces."1
The development from detail into freedom is rarely uninterrupted by
reaction ; often it resembles a tide's advance to high-water, and it is generally
steadier and more rapid in lonely men of genius than in those who are actors
in the variable strife of their period. Similarly in school styles, in spite
of periodical reactions, the development tends to be from detail and precision
on and on, through occasional ebbing of reaction, towards freedom and loose
handling. Reaction from these culminating qualities, of course, carries
art back towards youth, that is, towards the knowledge that precision in
devoted work accumulates.
Our land-and-sea painters, we may be sure, will not be carried by reaction
so far back as their eighteenth century forerunners, such as Dominic Serres,
R.A., and Samuel Scott, and Charles Brooking ;   men who based their
1 Burlington Magazine, October 1908, p. 17. 46
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
method on the Dutch semi-marine artists, but who remained far behind
their chosen masters ; being followers only, they dallied in the rear inevitably.1
The recoil will be towards the ideals of style that enable us to pass from
W. Clarkson Stanfield, R.A. (1792-1867), back to R. P. Bonington (1801-
1828), and to Turner's noontide period, 1805-1815, ranging from " The
Shipwreck " (1805), on to those busy days when he lived at Sandycombe
Lodge, near Richmond Bridge. At the end of his garden was a square
pond into which Turner put the fish that he caught. Sometimes he angled
on the Old Brent, with a can to hold trout for this preserve, but the fish disappeared, till at last he discovered that a jack was in his pond. A boy friend,
who became the Rev. H. S. Trimmer, went fly-fishing with Turner on the
Thames, and Turner gave his catch to his companion, after stringing the
fish together through their gills on some long grass. Trimmer, in his account,
says that Turner threw a fly in first-rate fashion.
I find it useful, when looking back upon my subject, to employ the Sandycombe days in Turner's life, as travellers used to make use of a half-way
resting-place, because, whether he painted from his boat, or travelled with
his painting things in a queer gig harnessed to an old crop-eared bay horse,
he was searching for colour, and practising an assurance of hand that needed
no help from retouching. The colour of fish was to him as wonderful in
its own varied way as a sunset, and the practice of fly-fishing helped to increase
that union of muscular with nerve strength which has always been essential
to manipulative arts. A weak arm has an unsteady hand, in painting as
in violin playing. Trimmer says that Turner, during his great sketching
trips from Sandycombe Lodge, put everything firmly in its place and never
retouched.
Later we shall return to this wondrous magnetic genius, the greatest
of England's land-and-sea painters, and invaluable to those of us who wish to
1 At present I have failed to find anything within my subject by Brooking (1723-1759) and
Dominic Serres (1722-1793), who is represented at Hampton Court and at Greenwich Hospital.
As for Samuel Scott (died 1772), he is almost as difficult, unlike Sam Owen(c. 1768-1857), who
loved angling. Several interesting prints after his work merit a place in a collection of engravings.
One of them, dated 1814, represents Staines Bridge, with a fisher and his companion in the left
foreground. Another, engraved very well by W. B. Cooke, in 1815, is called " The Willows,
seat of the late Townley Ward, Esq." ; and Cooke in the same year engraved Owen's picture of
Eton Bridge, with an angler well placed. These little prints, in a period study of angling in art,
should be looked at side by side with that very pretty History of the Thames, in two volumes, which
is illustrated in colours after Joseph Farington, R.A. (1747-1821). In the second volume there
are two landscapes in which net fishing is introduced, one of Putney, the other of Rochester Bridge
and Castle. They recall to memory the fact that salmon fishing was busy in the Thames when
Farington and Sam Owen were contemporaries. THE   LAND-AND-SEA  PAINTERS
47
learn how a sport can be used in art by a supreme master of imaginative
composition. If anglers had encouraged Turner with commissions in
those days of early long-suffering which turned him into a nomad topographer, his fondness for angling would have shown itself in his work more
often and more variously. Ah, what opportunities have been lost by the
well-to-do Waltonians ! The great Houghton Fishing Club, which welcomed
Turner, and had among its earliest members the sculptor Chantrey, might
easily have formed by now a collection of angling in art which would have
attracted a paying public throughout the year !
Still, fine beginnings are never too late. Even the lesser painters who,
like William Collins, R.A. (1788-1847), have alternated between seafaring
and riversides, would help a wealthy fishing club to form a collection having
enough variety.
Collins, as a rule, invites us to linger with him either along the coast,
often with children, or in the open country with small girls and boys who
belong to the old tradition of Merrie England, a tradition in which Thomas
Webster, R.A., lives through a long life (1800-1886). Foreigners like
Collins and Webster because these unaffected painters take them with
ingenuous pride into the heart of English childhood, with its own sports,
pranks, scrapes, school lessons, and what not besides. Like Henry Thompson,
R.A. (1773-1843), William Collins painted two pictures of youngsters
angling, and prints after them are to be bought. In one, a mezzotint dated
1878, two lads are in a boat by a reed-fringed bank, with trees overhead ;
and in the distance, on our right, is a rustic bridge, and beyond it a wood.
The second print, dated April 1820, is etched by Collins himself, but mezzotinted by William Ward, A.R.A. And students of my subject should note
also a mezzotint after Collins by Charles Turner, A.R.A., " The River
Brent," published by H. Leggatt & Co. in 1830.
A versatile contemporary of Collins, Luke Clennell (1781-1840), touched
from time to time on angling, as in two illustrations engraved by J. Greig
for The Border Antiquities of England and Scotland. One print is from
a picture of Dilston Tower, Northumberland, and the other represents
St. Constantine's Cells. Clennell was a man of mark in his day, and, like
Collins and Joshua Cristall (1767-1847), a forerunner of J. C. Hook.1
J. C. Hook at his best remains an important painter to every one who is
1 Cristall's "The Fisherboy" and "The Fishmarket on the Beach at Hastings," water-
colours, belong to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Like Turner and Girtin, Cristall worked
as a boy in Dr. Monro's house. He was one of the Foundation Members of the Water-Colour
Society, and three times its President, 48 ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
moved by British qualities in manly painting. It is true that he loved the
physical act of painting too much, and that it mastered him pretty often,
causing his fine qualities to be carried by over-emphasis into vices ; and
we must remember also that he offended the new generations by living from
1819 into the twentieth century (1907) without losing faith in a sunburnt
naturalism of his own. What right had he to go on living when confident
youngsters, after borrowing ideas from the French, had put him away as
dead, forgetting even to call to him their Ave atque vale ? If a new generation
in the practice of art did not kill and bury its father and grandfather, how could
it make room for its own work in the markets ? Hook, then, was assailed
as Early Victorian, and he received so many unfair blows that he was comatose
in art a good many years before he died as a man. The prices of his best
days went soaring up to £1700, a reputation in finance which was easy to
discredit. " See what you can get from me for a simple £100 ! " cried the
brilliant new generation, whose speculative thoughts hoped that Hook's
£1700 for a picture would soon be transferred to its own most brilliant
lights. But, after all, the natural sport of art-slaughter produces a reaction,
then all that is genuinely good is restored to its own rights. The best of
Hook is a pulse of open-air genius which will continue to beat in the
great history of British painting. A leading French critic, Robert de la
Sizeranne, writing of Hook in 1895, said : " Sa facture un peu penible, et
sa couleur parfois criarde, le distinguent des Francais, mais rien dans ses
sujets ni dans sa composition n'est britannique . . . Quelques-unes de
ses scenes de marine rappellent notre Feyen-Perrin " (La Peinture Anglaises
Contemporaine, p. 322). A part of this criticism is true. Hook is among
certain modern realists who, like Jean Francois Millet and Bastien-
Lepage, have been attracted by Greek sculpture, and the greatest masters
of Italy ; and when different ideals meet and clash in the practice of painting,
troubles are inevitable. Hook, thinking of Venetian colour, tries very
hard, with very different methods of work, when painting in the open air,
to attain the grey brilliance that delights him out of doors within the glow
of sunlight. In his constant search after rich colour he is apt to overdo
the sunburn on seafaring men, and the fat rosiness of health in the cheeks
of country children. But, probably, these faults will be toned by time and
chemical changes in the paint. Another quality, his passion for linear
drawing in paint, which has its original source in his passion for Greek
sculpture, becomes more apparent after his sixtieth year, or thereabouts.
This fact, a stiffening in the use of paint, is uncommon in the later work of  Ill
I. THE   LAND-AND-SEA  PAINTERS
49
notable artists. And another point is interesting. Hook's earliest subject
pictures bring us in touch with a " Pamphilus relating his Story " (1844),
a I Bassanio commenting on the Caskets " (1847), a " Rescue of the Brides
of Venice " (1851), and other studio pieces.
Considered as a man, Hook was one of humanity's masterpieces, who
really ought to have lived as long as Hilpa and Shalum in Addison, just
to represent one type of Nature's perfection as a maker of handsome men.
It was my happy lot to have one talk with this ideal Englishman, and I
understood at once why Millais painted him with a noble affection. To
love Hook is as easy as to love Izaak Walton, and once I tried to write an
imaginary conversation between these very typical, but different Englishmen.
It seemed to begin pretty well, but Hook became so downright, so Johnsonian,
that Walton struggled in vain to speak once more as Piscator. Hook had
so many hobbies besides angling. He ploughed, he sowed, he reaped with
a sickle, or mowed a field of hay with a scythe ; he could have defeated
Gladstone as a woodcutter ; his gardening was excellent; his handling of
boats at sea delighted sailors, and he dared to believe that even seamen
should swim like fish. Thoroughly Conservative in all of his dislikes and
likes, he enjoyed a little reaction by being an advanced Radical in politics,
and by teaching the Surrey villagers to vote as he voted, and to cheer when
he read aloud from Shakespeare, and from other immortal non-politicians.
As long as our country continues to breed individual men, Hooks and Waltons,
and not merely a male population, she may continue to triumph over her
habitual ineptitude in foresight.
With a little prompt encouragement from well-to-do anglers Hook
would have painted many a picture of freshwater fishing, like his " Wily
Angler " in 1883, or his " The Salmon Pool " (1886), or his picture of
I Tickling Trout," exhibited at the R.A. in 1887. Thanks to Mr. Pandeli
Ralli, who has a fine collection of pictures, I am able to give in colour a
typical Hook, very sunburnt, and vigorously sympathetic, and showing that
half-humorous fondness for children which comes into his art from his
thorough manliness of character.1
It is always interesting to recall how artists were received by their contemporary judges. Let me choose an example from a leading critic of Hook's
best days, G. T. Robinson, who wrote from London to The Manchester
Courier.   Under the dates May 5th and June 12th, 1873, he said :
1 The picture being large, and the reproduction small, Hook's qualities are inevitably weakened
by the blockmakers. |HT
50
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
» A couple of excellent Hooks flank this work [a bad picture by P. F.
Poole, R.A.]. We shall refer to them again when considering this master's
work, which this year is better than ever. . . . Akin to these [works by
Henry Moore], but blending land and sea, come the joyous works of Mr.
Hook. Here we have brilliant colour combined with the subtlest skill
in composition, and over all the purest atmospheric painting. Very full
of thought is all Mr. Hook's work. Let us note how well he unites the long
line of breakers rushing out to the sea with the foreground, by means of
the dark dress of the figure, and the boat of \ The Fishing Haven'; how he
preserves the sweep of the bay by means of the arrangement of the lines of
the girl and the little child, who brighten up and give a happy human intent
to his work. Note, too, the skill by which in ' The Bonxie ' he keeps the
source of light just out of his picture. We recognize in each and all of these
refinements a quality exceeding rare in these days of haste and hurry.
Unpleasant as is the subject of his ' Fishing by Proxy,' where cormorants
disgorge the prey they are prevented from enjoying, the glory of that green
moist valley with its reed and willow-fringed stream compensates for it,
making us long for the return of those days when Mr. Hook painted pure
landscape, and before he was seduced by fishermaidens or led out to sea
by fishermen. . . ."1
In the same article G. T. Robinson wrote warmly of another land-and-
sea painter, Colin Hunter, whose pictures were called | Trawlers waiting
for Darkness," " The Three Fishers," and " After the Gale." Twenty-
two years later, in 1895, Colin Hunter exhibited at the Royal Academy
his I Salmon-Fishing on the Dee, Kirkcudbright : The Shoulder Net,"
differing greatly from the composition in which Alphonse Legros composed a somewhat similar kind of fishing with a handled net. Hunter's
work was reproduced among the pictures of its year, and I must place it
without fear in the history of my subject, but without regarding it as angling.
It represents a Scottish way of freshwater-fishing, with a waterfall behind,
and a man with his long-handled net.2
Thanks to Mr. A. S. Hartrick, I am able to give some information about
Colin Hunter's fishing with a shoulder-net on the Dee. Mr. Hartrick
remembers going with Hunter to see the fishing done, one evening before
the painter started the subject, and he saw the picture when finished.
In 1895 this shoulder-net fishing was done on the Dee in only one pool.
1 This picture, " Fishing by Proxy," was chosen to represent Hook at the Sports and Arts
Exhibition of 1890-1891, Grosvenor Gallery, London.
2 Even Sir Walter Scott was attracted by ways of fishing which are too " wholesale " for
sport. Andrew Lang said of him, for instance, that Sir Walter, who was fond of trout-fishing,
was seduced from the legitimate sport of salmon-fishing by salmon-spearing by torchlight. THE   LAND-AND-SEA   PAINTERS
M
The implement resembled a large shrimp net fastened to a pole about 20 ft.
long, which was thrown by a strong man, almost like a spear, to the far
side of the pool; only the man did not loose hold of the pole's butt-end.
When the net had sunk he scraped it along the bottom by drawing it towards
himself, and while resting the pole upon, and over his shoulder. As the
bag of the net came nearer and nearer, the pole passed higher and higher
over his shoulder. The pool, so fished, was about 18 or 20 ft. square,
not more.
In the same year Mr. Hartrick himself made a drawing—it was published
in The Graphic—that represented another way of salmon fishing on the Dee,
with a man seated on a platform, and a great shrimp net fixed between the
posts of his platform, fixed movably, so that he could pull the pole up and
down when he felt fish in the bag of his net.
Mr. Hartrick thinks that Colin Hunter did a picture of salmon fishing
on the Findhorn, or some river in the north near Dingwall. Of course
Hunter did many sea fishings, like " Trawlers waiting for Dark," " The
Herring Market at Sea," and many others.1
From this introduction to the land-and-sea painters, let us turn now
to Norman Wilkinson, who at present is doing more than any other painter
for angling in art. This year his large seascape at the R.A. made a hit,
and in the spring, though greatly troubled by bad weather, he was very
busy in Scotland, adding to his outdoor studies about twenty-five good
angling sketches in water-colour. Among other work he has made a dry-
point etching for the Large Paper Edition of this book, and painted some of
the most renowned trout and salmon pools on the Rivers Tay, Garry, Brora,
Orchy, Dee, Lyon, and Kingie.
Ill
After 1901, when he took up marine painting, he travelled much at sea,
sketching ; and as soon as he could, he bought a boat. In 1912 he was hung
on the line at the R.A., and won a very important success with a picture
called " National Insurance," representing battleships and attendant
destroyers. For the principal shipping companies Norman Wilkinson
has designed a large number of posters ;  he believes, like Frank Brangwyn,
1 The painting of shoulder-net fishing was seen again at Christie's early in May 1923, among
the drawings and pictures from the collection of Sir John H. N. Graham, Bart., of Larbert
House, Larbert, Stirlingshire. The picture measures 39J in. by 27^ in, and its fresh colour
remains unchanged.   I wished to reproduce it, but failed to get permission. 52
ANGLING   IN   BRITISH   ART
that too much attention cannot be given by artists to design in its relation
to advertisements. From boyhood he has been an ardent fly-fisher, and for
many years he has visited Scotland to practise his favourite sport, but
it was not till 1920 that he began as a painter to emulate his dead friend,
Ernest Briggs. Since then he has painted many water-colours of salmon
and trout rivers, and has achieved success with a series of dry-points.
His water-colours have an affinity of sentiment, but not of colour, with
those by Briggs ; they are completely English in method and feeling, though
painted in Scotland. The colour of both painters is certainly Scottish, but
differently so, and the varying effects of Scotland's landscapes on artists
are among the few historic wonders of art which have not yet received much
attention from professed students of colour. Scottish painters, and English
painters who have worked much in Scotland, have a kindred variety of special
colour which has a nationalism as definite as that of the tartans ; and we
need an explanation of the fact that mountainous landscapes in Wales, with
a wondrous diversity of colour that is Welsh, have not affected the art of
painting with a formative influence as lasting as Scottish landscapes have
had, and still have.
At present Norman Wilkinson has worked in water-colour on Scottish
angling subjects, but when he begins to employ his oil-colours, and his big
brushes, the Scottish colour that he loves will come by its own in his work
with a richer and freer downrightness.
In water-colour his angling in art represents already a good many
riversides of Scotland. Thus, in 1921, he had an exhibition in the Dunthorne
Gallery, Vigo Street, London, comprising thirty-five water-colours, also nine
dry-points ; and many more have been done since then. It was a notable
one-man show, and very successful ; no fewer than thirteen of the water-
colours were sold. Even their titles are as angling pictures : The Valley of
the Awe ; The Bridge Pool at Craigellachie ; Black Duncan, River Orchy ;
Lennox Water on the Spey ; A Twenty-five Pounder, Garry ; Grilse Pool
on the Spey; Salmon Leap, Falls of Struan ; The Birk's Pool on the
Spey ; Fishing the Intake, Spey ; and The Birk's Pool, Gordon Castle
Water.
I am revising this on September 1st, and my present knowledge of the
salmon and trout pools in Norman Wilkinson's art is as follows :—
On the Spey.—Tunnel Pool, Lennox Water, Birk's Pool, Bulwark Pool,
and Otter Pool; two pictures of the Alt Deargh Pool, one of them from
the top of Lennox Water ;  Lord March's Pool, the Greenbank and Intake !*£5>.     -*^.  THE   LAND-AND-SEA   PAINTERS
Pool, Fishing the Intake, and two of the Grilse Pool. " The Spey at
Craigellachie " is another good drawing, like " The Banks of the Spey."
On the River Orchy, which the Dalmally ghillies regard as much superior
to the Awe : it has a very pretty series of attractive little salmon resorts :—
Box Pool, Elbow Pool, and Shepherd's Pool.
On the Awe.—Bherie Pool, Bothy Pool, Disputed Pool, Casandhu Pool ;
and to these let me add, " Trolling for Salmon on Loch Awe," and " The
Valley of the Awe," both good.
On the River Garry (Inverness-shire).—" The Home Beat," " The
Garry at Tomdown," " Below Loch Poulary," three of the Kettle Pool
at Struan, " The Salmon Lie on the Garry," " Above the Horseshoe Pool."
The River Toy.—" Netting Salmon at Stobhall," " Lower Stanley
Pool," " The Tay at Ballinluig," " Bridge Pool in Murthly Water," " Haarling
on Benchill Water," another of Benchill Water, " Below Stobhall," " Cat
Holes, Stanly Water," and | Boat Angling on Campsie Lynn."
The Tummel.—" The Soldier's Leap."
The River Brora.—" The Rock Pool," " Cliff Pool," " The Otter Pool,"
and