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A. E. Knox was born on September 28th, 1808, in Dublin, eldest son of a Scottish family that had settled in Ireland during the Elizabethan ‘plantings’ of the early seventeenth century. He graduated with an M.A. from Brasenose College, Oxford, before obtaining a commission as Captain in the Life Guards, retiring from the regiment on his marriage to Lady Jane Parsons in 1835. The couple spent the rest of their lives in Surrey and Sussex.

Described as ‘a tall, spare man, clean-shaven and with a clear, keen eye’, Knox was a sportsman and amateur naturalist, hunting, shooting, hawking, stalking and fishing as the seasons allowed – in the process building up a notable collection of Sussex birds. As a close friend of the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, he was able to spend many seasons as a guest on Speyside, at a time when salmon fishing and deer stalking were in their infancy as field sports. Autumns on the Spey was one of three books from Knox’s pen, the other two being Ornithological Rambles in Sussex, which was published in 1849 and ran to three editions; and Game Birds and Wild Fowl, their Friends and Foes, which appeared a year later. Knox also contributed a string of articles to zoological magazines. He died at his daughter’s house near Arundel on September 23rd 1886.

A. E. Knox's 1872 classic, Autumn’s on the Spey, has long been valued by salmon fishers for its fascinating and unique list of Spey flies. The book is based on a series of letters written to his friends in the south, during several autumns at Gordon Castle. Knox was a country gentleman who enjoyed outdoor pursuits. In addition to fishing, he describes red-deer stalking, roe-deer shooting, fossil hunting and the nuisance of red squirrels. He was a keen naturalist and observes closely the changes in the surrounding landscape. Although barely known outside specialist fly-tying circles, Autumns on the Spey is treasured for its early fly-tying patterns. Within a generation, the flies he treasured would be eclipsed by the gaudy standard patterns so beloved by Kelson and Hale.

The author describes some vigorous fishing along the river Spey when it was nearly silver with fish, and it remains one of the swiftest flowing and most beautiful stretches of water flowing in Scotland. This is the elegiac account of salmon fishing when it truly was a great adventure