The Compleat Angler, also known as The fly fisherman’s work bench

CATHERINE M WOOD (worked 1880-1939)

The Compleat Angler, also known as The fly fisherman’s work bench

1910 United Kingdom

Offered by Mark Mitchell Paintings & Drawings

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Antique late 19th century British NeoClassical revival water gilded frame
This painting testifies to the growing enthusiasm for fly fishing during the 19th century (paintings of fish in landscape settings – e.g. by Henry Rolfe – became popular, as did more culinary still life studies by artists such as Manet and William Merritt Chase). It is an interesting choice of subject for a woman painter, who might have been expected to opt for the more conventional ‘female’ genres of flowerpieces, interiors, or portraits of women and children. All the accoutrements of the fly fisherman are portrayed: the creel, bag and reels, as well as the brilliantly coloured materials used to create the flies. The pile of books on the right-hand side, beneath the album, may include F.M. Halford’s best-selling Floating flies and how to dress them, published in 1886 and containing 90 hand-coloured engravings ‘of the most killing patterns’, and the whole is presided over by the engraving after Jacob Huymans’s portrait of Izaak Walton (The Compleat Angler).

Catherine Wood was an painter of considerable skill, as witnessed by her long career exhibiting in the R.A. and elsewhere, and the appreciation of her work by artists such as Sickert. This is a masterly and colourful example of her work, in which an apparently random arrangement of items is revealed as an expertly composed scene, creating an almost abstract pattern of form and colour across the canvas. The delicacy and painterly qualities for which she is known appear at their most descriptive in this extremely rare work (for whilst there are many still life paintings of dead fish and angling equipment, studies of the fly-tieing process are so uncommon as to be almost non-existent).
Height 38.10 cm (15.00 inches)
Width 45.70 cm (17.99 inches)
External Height 54.60 cm (21.50 inches)
External Width 62.20 cm (24.49 inches)
Oil on canvas
'C.M. Wood 1910'
Mark Mitchell Paintings & Drawings

Mark Mitchell Paintings & Drawings
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