Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy Birthday Bernard!

My friend, Bernard Venables, would have been 107 years old today - it is hard to believe that thirteen years have passed since he sadly passed away in 2001. He was an inspiration to many - to me he epitomised good angling, good values, ideals, friendship, traditionalism and kindness. Bernard is everything that I hold dear with angling and I know that I am not alone.

Bernard Venables, self portrait - Memorial Service 2001
I am re-reading some of his wonderful books - A Rise To The Fly (Robert Hale Ltd) came out in 2000 and as I read it now I can hear Bernard's lovely dulcet tones as I turn each page. When I first met him he told me "first and foremost I am artist, an artist who just happens to go fishing". 

1948 FA Book for Boys
1949 FA Book for Boys
I surprised and excited him on subsequent meetings by showing him various other books and bits of ephemera he had illustrated and were long forgotten. Since his passing I have amassed quite a collection and on this special day I share a small selection with you.

Deerskin Island Mystery - 1945
The Hunting of Zakaroff - 1946

The picture below brings a smile to my face - just after it was taken, the assembled members of the Golden Scale Club let off a superb rocket from the pub garden (I won't name the hostelry!). We all whooped with joy, no-one more so than Bernard. The landlord ran out of the pub and banned us all instantly - he looked at BV and said "..and you are old enough to know better" - a magical memory.

Gerry Berth-Jones, Maurice Ingham, Ferneyhough Yates and BV - GSC AGM Hampshire, 1996

I am sure I will not be alone when I raise a glass of ale and give thanks to Bernard this evening.   

Tanks - Country Life, 1942


Unknown said...

Hello Dickie.Lovely pictures.I went to a display of Bernards artwork and other items a few years ago in Salisbury museum.I was surprised at the wide range of subjects that were covered.These included farming and even tanks if i remember correctly.There wasnt much fishing tackle though.

Unknown said...

Just noticed the Tanks pic at the bottom.Attention span of a gold fish me!!!.........

Dickie Straker said...

Thanks Champ - it was more than a few years ago! October 1998!! Just found my invite. Ferneyhough opened the exhibition and mighty fine it was too. Just found a BV caricature of Adolf Hitler! Hope you are keeping well, bestest fishes, Dickie