Edmonds & Lee

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Edmonds & Lee

Post by RobSmith1964 » Wed Apr 08, 2020 2:18 am

https://www.54deanstreet.it/blog/blog-1 ... TPoDMwWObs

I enjoyed Andrew’s article, though I found it somewhat incomplete, and racked with errors. I won’t comment on whether Mr Skues would have found Andrew’s writing to be equally as appallingly illiterate. However, it would be remiss of me not to point out some of Andrew’s glaring errors with regards to the content of the article. Firstly, Harfield Edmonds was born on the 6th December 1882 and not the 5th as Andrew states. His grandfather Thomas Edmonds originally lived and worked in the village of Thornton where he built his first mill, before moving the business to Harris Street and the Little Germany area of Bradford. Harfield’s mother died in childbirth and his father moved to Canada to pursue his father’s business interests, leading to young Harfield being brought up by his grandparents. See https://theslidingstream.net/edmonds-lee-centenary/
Edmonds and Lee attended Shipley Central Boys School, not Salt’s Grammar School, which came into being after their time. Here they were tutored by headmaster George Morrell, himself a keen angler and member of the Burnsall Club. See https://theslidingstream.net/george-morrell/
However, it is more probable that Edmonds and Lee knew each other before they attended school as they both lived within yards of each other in Heaton.
In the article Andrew also wrongly asserts that Pearsall’s was in his words “the first silk that had been specifically aimed at fly tyers, and it was fine and strong. To add to its attraction, Pearsall’s silk came in a wide range of shades, but its chief virtue was that nothing of the sort had been available before it went on sale in 1881.” This, of course, is false, as George Davenport and Co were producing and supplying flytying silks as far back as the 1870s. Supplying Aldham with silk for his 1876 publication A Quaint Treatise on Flees, as well as regularly advertising their silks in the angling press of the day. See https://theslidingstream.net/pearsalls-gossamer-silk/
Andrew also intimates that Edmonds and Lee directed their readers “On the then very important subject of wax”, to The Trout Fly Dresser's Cabinet Of Devices or How To Tie Flies for Trout and Grayling Fishing by Harry G. McClelland.” However, this is not strictly true. As the two authors do not link the subject of wax to McClelland but instead urge their readers to search out McClelland’s work in the more general approach to the subject of fly-tying.
Andrew also informs us that “In the face of Skues’ insistence, Edmonds and Lee rolled over and revised the text, twice, under his eagle eye.” However, it is well to point out, he has never seen their original manuscript, so cannot comment on whether it was noticeably changed under Skues’ guidance or not.
Andrew later fetishes that “Skues’ intervention may also account for why, in what appears to have been a conscious imitation of Leonard West's and Frederic Michael Halford's works, Edmonds and Lee provided a colour chart for silks, detailed line drawings of naturals, and colour images of flies.” Sadly, he brings no evidence to the table to show a direct influence on their work by either Halford or West. And it is well to point out than there is a rich history of angling works containing a detailed drawing of natural insects, so who is not to say that they were not influenced by the earlier works of fellow Yorkshiremen Jackson & Theakston. Or that the inclusion of colour images is not the idea of Percy Lund, Humphries & Co, their book printer who had a great reputation as a designer and publisher of illustrated art books. It is too simplistic to state that their work is an imitation of Halford and West, and ignores the possibility of other more telling influences. https://www.lundhumphries.com/pages/history
If we are to draw any conclusions from Andrew’s article, it is simply to conclude that it must have been written in haste (with a T).
Last edited by RobSmith1964 on Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Edmonds & Lee

Post by DUBBN » Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:50 am

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Re: Edmonds & Lee

Post by ronr » Wed Apr 08, 2020 9:02 am

Interesting reading and lively discussion is sure to follow. I'm in no position to judge either Mr. Smith's or Mr. Herd's writings, but I do enjoy reading both.
On that note, in the same blog noted by Mr. Smith, there is an interesting post about John Atherton and Coq de Leon.
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Re: Edmonds & Lee

Post by bearbutt » Wed Apr 08, 2020 9:34 am

LOL--. The corrections are very useful, and the recriminations simply delightful--to be accused of being "appallingly illiterate" would be a call to arms for some, and a badge of honour to others. Good writers have been called worse.

All things considered, I thought the photographs were quite well done, so if we leave out all the words and boo-boos, the article is at least half good.

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Re: Edmonds & Lee

Post by wsbailey » Wed Apr 08, 2020 9:59 am

Apparently Walbran purchased some of Aldam’s estate including silk thread. This is the reference that I found.

https://books.google.com/books?id=rAAaA ... an&f=false
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Re: Edmonds & Lee

Post by Mike62 » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:29 pm

That was a fun read, thank you, Rob. It also goes a long way to explaining why my flies resemble a Jackson Pollock painting as opposed to a Monet.
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Re: Edmonds & Lee

Post by Johnno » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:52 pm

Mr Smith, greetings from the bottom of the world...

Just curious; have you discussed these errors with the author prior to posting your comments?

If so, I’d be interested to know what his response was..

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Re: Edmonds & Lee

Post by Fishnkilts » Sat Apr 11, 2020 11:06 am

I have Edmonds & Lee's book, and I think it is pretty good compared to others that have been published before it by the other great fishing authors in the 1800's.

As for this article, it seems the author is a little off from the truth, but more so probably due to his research. For example the school Edmonds & Lee went to. Ok, I'll give it to him because the school did change names, and Andrew probably had newer information that didn't include that the name of the school was changed.

Not to change the subject, but it does fit with this topic. I am a somewhat history buff on some subjects, and one subject is the Coffeyville KS. raid by the Daltons. I have read books and seen shows on it on the History Channel with historians talk about such details about the gang and why they did what they did. All of it entertaining, but not historical. For instance, many say Bob Dalton's girl friend was part of the gang, but was waiting for them outside of the town after the raid.

I visited Coffeyville a few times and went into the Dalton Museum where I found a book, and they have many copies, written by Emmett Dalton himself about how the gang was started and why they took two banks in Coffeyville. Was there a woman in the story? Yes. Bob's girlfriend was on her way to Kansas by stage from California, but was killed by Indians in an attack. Bob got the message about it, and was of course upset about it. So he decided to take the two banks and they could go to South America and build their horse ranch.

I guess what I'm saying is, I like going to the horses mouth. Excuse the pun.
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Re: Edmonds & Lee

Post by Greenwell » Sat Apr 11, 2020 8:36 pm

wsbailey wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 9:59 am
Apparently Walbran purchased some of Aldam’s estate including silk thread.

In my copy of Aldam's Quaint Treatise the specimens of silk are quite different from Pearsalls, not only in color but in diameter. One silk is especially intriguing. The "Tailey Tail" fly calls for a dark fawn or fleshy color. The color sample in the book is one of the oddest silks I have seen, it's almost but not quite, pink. The only Pearsalls that I have to match it is the modern color called Salmon Berry but this is too bright.

Interestingly, it turns out that my copy of Aldam was owned by A. Courtney Williams and has many of his pencil notations. Williams was a fly pattern compiler and wrote "Trout Flies: A Dictionary and a Discussion" which was later expanded into "A Dictionary of Trout Flies."

As an aside, in the first book (1932), Williams discusses the use of glass or metal beads to suggest the eyes of the natural flies but says that "The purist will have none of them" but a bit farther on: For many years I fought shy of even trying such a monstrosity, but recent experience has completely changed my views." And in the next paragraph: "Whilst having no intention of advocating the use of such fearsome creatures in preference to any other flies, it is worth while pointing out that whereas a fly with a body of silver tinsel , or another with eyes of beads, may appear to us as a freak, the very fact that trout do not find them so provides food for thought."
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