James Pollard

Trolling for Pike in the River Lee


Not on display

James Pollard 1792–1867
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 356 × 446 mm
frame: 465 × 552 × 70 mm
Bequeathed by Mrs F. Ambrose Clark through the British Sporting Art Trust 1982

Display caption

The three anglers on the river bank below a weir are 'trolling' or fishing with a running line. The centre figure has already hooked a jack, or young pike, while his companion on the right is poised with a gaff to help land the fish.
Pollard had a prolific output of sporting subjects. He was himself a keen angler and painted several small pictures on the theme. The locations for many of his fishing subjects were on the outskirts of London. This charming scene on the River Lee at Waltham Abbey, to the north-east of the city, forms a pair with 'Fly Fishing in the River Lee', also in the Tate collection.

Gallery label, April 1996

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Catalogue entry


Oil on canvas 14 × 17 9/16 (356 × 446)
Inscribed ‘J. Pollard 1831’ b.r.
Bequeathed by Mrs F. Ambrose Clark from the collection of the late F. Ambrose Clark through the British Sporting Art Trust 1982
Prov: ...; Arthur N. Gilbey, sold by his executors, Christie's 25 April 1940 (111, repr.) bt C. Dunlop, New York; F. Ambrose Clark after 1958; his widow Mrs F. Ambrose Clark
Exh: Loan Exhibition of Sporting Paintings, Viscount Allendale's, 144 Piccadilly, 1931 (74); Tate Gallery, August–September 1982, and York City Art Gallery, March–September 1984, with other paintings from Mrs F. Ambrose Clark's Bequest (no catalogue); Paintings exhibited by the British Sporting Art Trust, Vestey Gallery, National Horseracing Museum, Newmarket, April–December 1986 (unnumbered, repr.)
Engr: Aquatint by G. Hunt, pair to ‘Fly Fishing’, pub. J. Moore 1831 (Selway 1972, p.58, no.814)
Lit: Sir Walter Gilbey, Animal Painters, II, 1900, p.101; Walter Shaw Sparrow, Angling in British Art, 1923, p.103, repr. facing p.100; N.C. Selway, The Golden Age of Coaching and Sport, 1972, p.41, no.357

Pair to T03436 (q.v.). To ‘troll’ in angling is to fish with a running line. The 1940 sale catalogue of Arthur N. Gilbey's collection of angling pictures gives the following description of this scene: ‘Three anglers on the bank of a stream below a weir; one, standing, has hooked a Jack, whilst a second kneels by him with a gaff, and the third stands by with a rod over his shoulder and a creel in his hand, a live-bait can, rod covers, a fishing-seat and a creel on the ground beside them’.

A small sketch in pen and ink over pencil (5 × 7 1/4in) of this stretch of the river, without figures, is included in an album of Pollard's drawings in the British Museum (1933-10-14-278).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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