Cast From The Past: Jones Exhibition Fly Rod, Reel and Wallet

Photo: Steve Woit

This gold set of fly tackle was made by J. Jones of 111 Jermyn Street in London for the Exhibition of 1851. J. Jones was a notable fly dresser and tackle maker who produced beautiful trout and salmon fly tackle and he definitely rose to the occasion for his display at the famous Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851.

The Exhibition of 1851 was a massive undertaking supported by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria to show off the very best of British manufacturing and industry. It was known as “The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations” or” The Great Exhibition” and it took place in Hyde Park in London from May to October. It was considered to be the very first in a series of World’s Fairs that became very popular in the nineteenth century.

Celebrities of the time attended, including Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Michael Faraday (who assisted with the planning and judging of exhibits), Samuel Colt, and the writers Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Lewis Carroll, George Eliot, Alfred Tennyson, and William Thackeray.

The exhibition was a huge success and the proceeds from the ticket sales were used the fund the founding of the great Victoria and Albert Museum.

The fishing tackle display in which this rod, reel, and wallet appeared, was a showcase opportunity for tackle firms such as J. Jones to put forth their very best products.

Jones was also the patron behind the publication of Frederic Tolfrey’s “Jones Guide to Norway and Salmon-Fishers Pocket Companion” in 1848. The book was a troubled project at the time, but the result was another of the world’s fly fishing treasures, with perhaps the most beautiful prints of salmon flies ever to appear in print.

Steve Woit is the author of “Fly Fishing Treasures: The World of Fly Fishers and Collecting”, a book featuring profiles of 30 experts and collectors and over 800 photographs of rare and collectible fly rods, reels, flies, books, and ephemera.

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