Yorkshire Trout Flies

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Yorkshire Trout Flies

Postby ThirdMeadow » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:50 pm

Several months ago, I landed a sizeable 'fish' and have some questions about my 'catch'. In a lesser traveled, somewhat out-of-the-way corner of the Internet, I bought the following for about the price of a mainstream fly line:

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It's a first edition copy of Yorkshire Trout Flies (1885) by Thomas Pritt. Two hundred such copies were printed, one of which sits before me.

Image

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A beautiful feature of the book is its fly plates. Each of the eleven plates bound into the book contains 4-6 flies, and each of the 62 flies total is painted by hand. The detail is remarkable, and the colors appear as bright as they probably were in 1885. For example, the Little Winter Brown:

Image


Now the question...

Online images of the eleven fly plates in free, online, downloadable copies of Pritt's book are of rather poor quality (at least, the PDF copies I've seen). Only after owning the book and seeing the images closely, did I realize that many of the painted flies do not quite match the fly recipes printed in accompanying text. The differences always relate to whether the fly bodies are ribbed or not.

Pritt discusses ribbing of only 4 flies in the whole book. Nothing is written about ribbing for the remaining 58 flies. Yet, literally dozens of flies in the painted plates are clearly ribbed. I've scanned the fly plates at high resolution, and here are four examples with their accompanying recipes:

Brown Owl
Image Image

Brown Watchet
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Dotterel
Image Image

Poult Bloa
Image Image

I'm puzzled. Was Pritt simply negligent in transcribing the fly recipes? Was ribbing so commonplace or inconsequential that it was assumed to be optional and not included in recipes? Was Pritt or the fly painters taking artistic license with the patterns?

The paintings are quite deliberate in detailing fuzzy outlines of dubbed bodies (for example, the Little Winter Brown above). And, many fly patterns do NOT any ribbing at all. Thus, what appears to be ribbing looks to be intentional. Most or all of Pritt's recipes were lifted from earlier publications, such as fly lists by Pickard, Wells, and others. I've looked at printed recipes of the flies in question from the mid- to late-1800s, and they generally state nothing about ribbing. Pritt's flies that are also present in Brook and River Trouting (1916) are generally not ribbed there.

Pritt's book has always been one of my "go to" sources of North Country recipes. But now I'm puzzled. Is the printed text or the painted images to be believed?

Any thoughts?

Cheers,
PhilA

P.S. I'm not exactly a regular here, and I've posted this same inquiry to the Classic Fly Rod Forum, where some members have succumbed to the same wingless wet afflictions as me. Sorry for the duplicates, but I'm unsure if similarly afflicted souls visit both boards.

P.P.S. William, can I change my username here to "PhilA", so that it would be the same on both boards? Or, should I just start another account?
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Re: Yorkshire Trout Flies

Postby redietz » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:25 pm

I not sure that the "ribs" in the drawings are meant to convey anything other than wound thread (I.e. corded up, not smooth like floss.)

Go, for example, to the link that daringduffer posted in this post the Fishing Cabin section http://www.flymphforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7483. Some of those are indeed ribbed, but others are not, and if I were to painted them, I'd included a "rib" to indicate shadowing.

I believe the text.
Bob
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Re: Yorkshire Trout Flies

Postby hankaye » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:21 pm

ThirdMeadow, Howdy;

PhilA, I'm inclined to agree with Bob (aka redietz ), I enlarged the images using the settings
and for the most part the 'ribs' are straight up and down opposed to slanted. Vertical would
IMO, suggest segmented thread wraps whereas slanted would suggest a 'rib'. Those
artists back in the day had to do a lot to convey a concept to the reader.
Just my 2¢ worth.

hank
Striving for a less complicated life since 1949...
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Re: Yorkshire Trout Flies

Postby redietz » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:34 pm

hankaye wrote:ThirdMeadow, Howdy;
... for the most part the 'ribs' are straight up and down opposed to slanted. Vertical would
IMO, suggest segmented thread wraps whereas slanted would suggest a 'rib'.


Hank -- I was going to make the same argument, but went and looked at some of the flies where ribs were mentioned (some of the March Brown patterns.) They also show the rib going up and down. OTOH, they're much more prominent and show up even in the somewhat blurry images in the repro copy of the book that I have. You can't see the "ribs" on the flies posted here in that copy.
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Re: Yorkshire Trout Flies

Postby Johnno » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:09 am

Nice catch. Sometimes casting around can hook surprises. Thus is certainly one of them!!!
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Re: Yorkshire Trout Flies

Postby Theroe » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:57 am

Very nice find - good for you!
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Re: Yorkshire Trout Flies

Postby ThirdMeadow » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:10 pm

Many thanks for the input. It seems quite reasonable that the "faux ribs" are indeed representations of shading between adjacent wraps. The hackles of Pritt's flies are highly stylized, so why not stylize the silk bodies? It makes sense. In general, flies with the faux ribs are those that are not dubbed. (Not always, but usually) Absence of striations on dubbed bodies is consistent with overlying fur obscuring the underlying segmentation of twisted thread. The verticality of the striations doesn't seem very persuasive to me. Although most striations are vertical, others are slanted as might occur by ribbing. For example:

Light Spanish Needle
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Given the fineness of the paintings (for example, the thin wispy fibers of the wings), it seems to me that representing segmentation of twisted threads would have been done less coarsely. Then again, these are highly stylized paintings, so realism is perhaps not the goal.

There is another aspect of artistic license that might be at play here. To my non-artist's sensibilities, flies with such adornments on the body are simply more handsome than those without. For example, the following pairs are tied with silks of the same color:

Water Cricket and Winter Brown
Image Image

Yellow Sally and Fieldfare Bloa
Image Image

Whatever the reasons, the painted flies are beautiful. The above images were downsized from much larger images that I scanned at 1200 px/inch. If you would like to have full-sized high-resolution images of the eleven plates, I've uploaded them to an album from which they can be downloaded and saved. Addresses of the 11 plates are:
Plate 1: https://imgur.com/dlt4Ega
Plate 2: https://imgur.com/B2zZwEF
Plate 3: https://imgur.com/5V87EMm
Plate 4: https://imgur.com/ye1pALQ
Plate 5: https://imgur.com/Bx947yh
Plate 6: https://imgur.com/vRYxuNK
Plate 7: https://imgur.com/5cz99Nq
Plate 8: https://imgur.com/mlxAwhP
Plate 9: https://imgur.com/lB2oei9
Plate 10: https://imgur.com/krqJ141
Plate 11: https://imgur.com/kIAq45A

Just save each image as a JPG file. They should all be about 5,700 x 7,800 pixels on your computer. If they aren't, some software downsized them along the way. The process works well on my machine.
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Re: Yorkshire Trout Flies

Postby wsbailey » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:36 pm

We're lucky the book found a home with you and not some "collector". Thank you for sharing!
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Re: Yorkshire Trout Flies

Postby Theroe » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:38 pm

Yes thanks very much for sharing ......again, wonderful find - congratulations!
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Re: Yorkshire Trout Flies

Postby WiFlyfisher » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:14 pm

PhilA,
Since i know you have a lot of times on your hands...

1) What size hook is "Hook I" in today's hook standards?

2) Were the hackle barbs on the Yorkshire flies really that long compared to the hook size?

John

PS - Go Badgers!
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