Patrick Pollak

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RONALDS, Alfred.
Companion to Alfred Ronald's (sic) Fly Fisher's Entomology.

The Extracts are printed from the Sixth Edition of the Work, by permission of Messrs. Longmans, Green, and Co., London. Ronald's (sic) Fly Fisher's Entomology, Illustrated by Coloured Representations of the Natural and Artificial Insect; with Observations and Instructions relative to Trout and Grayling Fishing. The whole work thoroughly revised by an experienced Fly Fisher, and the Plates coloured after improved patterns. Sixth Edition, with 20 coloured Plates, 8vo. Price 14s. London: Longmans, Green, & Co.

COMPRISING: 8 vellum leaves, c.6 inches x 7 inches, folded, pinned in the centre with two brass eyes and held with a narrow brass rod, to form 16 pages, the first page being the printed title as above [the author's name - RONALDS - is misprinted twice, with the apostrophe before the 'S'] within a double-ruled border with a floral device at each corner and the mongram WR within a diamond at the top centre; the last page is a blank. Between them, pages numbered 1 to 14 carry the description of 47 flies for use between March and August. These printed pages are interleaved with 6 double-sided vellum leaves each with four pockets for flies plus a felt sheet folded, between pages 7 and 8 [these not numbered and do not carry a printed description; this is continuous from page 6 to page 9]. Some of the pockets contain flies, 20 examples in all, of indeterminate age. The book is contained within a brown calf wallet, fastened with a strap and buckle, the front flap with a pocket containing a screw of paper and a few hooks, the rear flap with a set of fly pockets in vellum pasted to the inside. This flap carries the retailers name in gilt - A. CARTER & CO. LD. 371, St.John St. E.C. and 11 South Molton St. W. London. [Carter's were superior retailers of angling equipment]. The case is probably later than the text. The lower fore-edge of the felt sheet has been slightly chewed by insects also affecting the two adjacent text leaves to each side. These have a few holes in the fore-edge and lower margins affecting a few letters; apart from this and a few rust marks offset from the hooks to the text leaves and light creasing of a couple of corners, it is in good condition

*A rare item unrecorded in COPAC, the Union Catalogue of major UK libraries. The Sixth edition of the Entomology was published in 1862 and the Seventh in 1868 - presumably this printing lies between these dates. It was probably produced on vellum as being more durable in the wet conditions of the river-bank. See MICK HALL - The Flyfishers' Annual, v.6, 2001: 'Time and hindsight can be harsh judges of flyfishing literature. Only a few works in any era survive beyond it to become cherished milestones of the sport's development. Sometimes they are valued for breakthroughs in knowledge and practice, sometimes for superb writing, presentation and appearance, and very occasionally for both. High on this most elite list is Alfred Ronalds' The Fly-Fisher's Entomology. Although this classic study was published in England in 1836, its importance reaches far beyond that place and era. Ronalds was decades ahead of his time, establishing paths that many of the greatest 20th century anglers would follow.' ALFRED RONALDS, born London 1802, died Ballarat, Australia 1860. His life was marked by daring and by his passion for science and innovation. At the age of 15 he was apprenticed to a copper plate engraver and lithographer, by 28 he had moved to Staffordshire and a year later had married a local girl. He remained in Staffordshire until 1844, gradually developing an interest in angling, especially with a fly. He built an angling hut on the bank of the Blythe, a tributary of the River Trent, and from there observed with great care the life and habits of the trout and grayling, and the insect life of the river-side. His observations were published in 1836, as 'The Fly-Fisher's Entomology', containing 20 fine handcoloured plates depicting some 100 insects and their imitations. In 1844, the Ronalds family moved to Dolgelly in North Wales where Alfred became established as a commercial fly-maker. They moved again, to Brecon, in 1846, and shortly thereafter to Cwmback, Llanalwedd, where he was a full-time tackle-maker. Mrs. Ronalds died in 1847, and so, in 1848, the family moved again, emigrating, first to Melbourne, thence to Geelong by 1849. In Australia Ronalds reverted in occupation to draftsman and engraver but captivated by the possibilities of a fortune from gold, they packed off to the gold-diggings, ending up in Ballarat in 1852. Clearly Alfred was no prospector and records show that he was advertising his services as a printer in Ballarat at that time. A couple of years later, he started a market-garden and grew unusual and exotic shrubs, trees and plants, supplying many of these to the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. His printing business was sold up by 1858 - following a sudden stroke, he died in 1860, having led a fascinating life of Victorian enterprise and genius.

W.R. No place.

Date Published: Between 1862 and 1868.

Stock No. 58480

Price: 480.00