Parmacheene Belle, 19th Century

I thought you would all enjoy seeing an anthentic 120-year old fly. This is the Parmacheene Belle from the 1893 Orvis Display at the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont.

Parmacheene Belle

 Here is the pattern recipe:

Tag: Flat silver tinsel (tarnished)

Tail: Scarlet and white, married

Butt: Peacock herl

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel (note how wide it is, and tarnished)

Body: Yellow mohair

Hackle: White fronted by scarlet

Wing: Scarlet and white, married. The original version of the wing, as described by the pattern originator, Henry P. Wells, in the 1883 edition of Fishing With the Fly by Charles F. Orvis and A. Nelson Cheney, he states the wing to be white with a scarlet stripe. It is unclear why the Orvis company chose to make the wing simply red and white.

Head: Red thread, and the butt ends of the humped over, reverse-tied wing, the butt of materials and the hook shank. This is how they did it back then. Most likely because all they had was cotton and silk threads, none strong enough to bind the wings securely in place.

Just a taste of what you’ll see in my book, in progress. We plan to publish full plate images of all 32 original color plates from Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, by Mary Orvis Marbury.