HISTORY OF TROPHY FISH CARVING
Tommy Brayshaw
British Columbia, Canada
Tommy Brayshaw

While some American sporting art collectors are just becoming familiar with the fish carvings of Tommy Brayshaw, he has already been generally regarded as the best of all Canadian fish carvers and one of the very best of the North American carvers of trophy fish. His international fame (and he was well known to thousands of anglers in North America and Great Britain) rested on his skill as an artist, a carver, sketcher, and painter.

Trained as a draftsman, he had a firm command of pen, pencil, and brush, and a fine eye for form and colour. Brayshaw was born in Stackhouse, Yorkshire, England in 1886, and as a youth, fished the rich Aln and Coquet rivers, which were near the well-known Hardy Brothers tackle company of Alnwick. His father was an attorney, which allowed the family to hold fishing rights on a good stretch of the River Ribble. Members of the upper class clientele preferred wood fish carvings over mounted skins and plaster casts.

In 1911, Tommy Brayshaw at 25 years of age, moved from England to British Columbia, Canada. An article in Field and Stream magazine in 1936, described Brayshaw's trophy carvings. The first Brayshaw trophy carving was created for a friend in 1927, and by the mid-1930's his talents rapidly improved, and his fame as a fish carver was firmly established. His models were fashioned along the lines of the work done by the carvers who worked for Hardy and Malloch's. They were mostly made with fuller bodies with all the fins carved from the body wood. The scales appear to be carved like gunstock checkering rather than applied with paint like the British models. The two woods he used were yellow cedar and white pine, and only the very basic handtools like chisels and handsaws were used.

Since Brayshaw's trophy fish represent actual catches, the number of carvings created in approximately four decades is very limited, less than an average of two a year. Two sets of fish models were created for the Canadian Fishing Company. One was completed in 1939 and the other 1954. A few were sculpted for the Vancouver Aquarium. A beautifully carved and painted wooden trout by Brayshaw sold at auction in England for over $32,000.00.

Tommy Brayshaw was born in 1886 and died in 1966.



Tommy Brayshaw fish carving
Rainbow Trout carving by Tommy Brayshaw
weight 18 lbs. caught by J.H. Moller
at Jewell Lake, British Columbia - 1932
World record price at auction (see below)
Tommy Brayshaw fish carving
Carved by Tommy Brayshaw
Chinook Salmon - 1933
Tommy Brayshaw fish carving
Carved by Tommy Brayshaw
Steelhead Trout 7 1/2 lbs.
Caught by Ralph Wahl- 1946
Coquihalla, British Columbia
Tommy Brayshaw fish carving
1957 Tommy Brayshaw carving


Saturday May 14 2005
London, England

Angling auction A WORLD record for a carved wooden fish was achieved at a West London sale last month when a half-block of an 18lb rainbow trout sold for 15,000. The carving was the work of Tommy Brayshaw and the plate read, 'Caught at Jewel Lake, British Columbia J.H. Moller, 1932.' Brayshaw emigrated from Yorkshire to America where his carvings are well known. Angling auction A WORLD record for a carved wooden fish was achieved at a West London sale last month when a half-block of an 18lb rainbow trout sold for 15,000. The carving was the work of Tommy Brayshaw and the plate read, 'Caught at Jewel Lake, British Columbia J.H. Moller, 1932.' Brayshaw emigrated from Yorkshire to America where his carvings are well known.

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