Saturday, 26 September 2020

Raymond Sheppard goes fishing! Part One


Running Silver endpapers

A lack of sleep one morning led to me reading "Hampton on Pike Fishing" (more in my next post). You need to know I have been fishing twice in my life - once as a teenager with my father and sister - my Dad loved fishing - and my sister caught a minnow in an Irish stream. The second time my son wanted to go fishing and, fortunately, a friend was also a keen fisherman and was willing to take us out and taught us fly-fishing on Rutland Water. I caught two trout; my son one! I can appreciate fishing is not all about getting fish, and these fishing books certainly reflect some of that.

The Boy's Book of Angling (Cover artist unknown)

BOYS' BOOK OF ANGLING by Major-General R[obert]. N[eil]. Stewart, London/Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers Limited, 1955

This is a fishing book, not a manual. The author is a lifelong angler and has fished in many parts of the world, and is fully qualified to write upon the subject.
General Stewart felt that there is a place for such a book. With much the same sort of upbringing as is described the author had such pleasure from those early days, that some record of these events, he thought, would be good reading. How right he was you will see.
General Stewart has been able to give in some measure help and happy fishing days to a few young anglers, but he hopes that this book may reach a greater number than he can ever have the pleasure of knowing, or helping, and that they will enjoy their holidays with him beside a river or a loch in the pages of this book.
We are sure that the reader will agree that he succeeds.
The book is easy to read, as is expected, but the images are the interesting part. Sheppard produced the Frontispiece and two other drawings (unless you count the tiny one on the title page too - which i don't think is Sheppard). This feels like the images came from somewhere else as one doesn't even fit on the page. 


Frontispiece and Title Page
There are two scraper-board illustrations in the book which I wonder might be by Major-General Stewart himself - one small example below. There are also  drawings of tackle and knots with no credit given.

Unknown artist - is it the Major-General?

Sheppard's second image is strange because it doesn't fit on the page (my scan curls on the left in the gutter, but the right edge is not my fault!) and his signature appears squashed! He does however show the reflective light on the top of the mackerel very well.

"For the mackerel we want spinners and for the lythe the rubber eels" (p.67)
This appears on page 15

His third illustration is bold and simple showing a trout caught by a fisherman's line, leaping out of the water.


RUNNING SILVER  by Major-General R[obert]. N[eil]. Stewart, London/Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers Limited, 1952

Running Silver - Cover

Stewart produced many stories for the BBC's Children's Hour, such as "Our Journey to France: a humorous journey to Cannes" in 1954, the intriguingly titled "In Search of Shoes", 1954, where "R. N. Stewart, returns with another tale of the ' unfortunate male '"! This one concerns "Finney, Jumpy and Bubabout" three baby salmon.

In the book, Sheppard has the endpapers (see top of this article) with a wonderful piece showing salmon swimming around each other. It's reproduced on the cover and also on page 33 as below

Again the book has artwork by various people but looks a bit more coherent than the Boys' Book of Angling. here we have 5 illustrations listed on the Contents page - none of which are Sheppard and several others are not covered at all. I think the 5 are by 'Cowell' and there's a scraper-board by 'JcT'. There are also paragraph dividers of ducks and birds, but not by Sheppard! Very strange how this top illustrator has been used in this context.

Running Silver page33


  • Experiment in Angling, and some essays. Inverness: Northern Chronicle Office, 1947.
  • Casting around. Essays on the art of angling. London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, [1948]
  • Running Silver. London; Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, 1952.
  • Open Spaces. The reflections of a naturalist London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1953.
  • Dogs of the Northern Trails London; Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, [1956]
  • The Boys' Book of Angling.London; Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, [1955]
  • The Boys' Book of Boats. London; Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, [1956]
  • The Boys' Book of the Deep Sea. London; Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, [1957]
  • The Boys' Book of the Jungle. London; Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, [1958]
  • The Boys' Book of the Yukon. London; Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, [1959]
  • Unsung Trails. By-ways of Exploration and Adventure London; Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, 1960.
  • Fishing as we find it Moray Maclaren and R.N. Stewart  London: Stanley Paul, 1960.
  • Salmon and Trout. Their habits and haunts. Edinburgh; London: W. & R. Chambers, [1963]

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