The Life and Times of Frederick Oliver Robinson, 2nd Marquis of Ripon
by Rupert Godfrey
2012 UK, 1st edn, 222pp, photos in color and b&w, appendices, index, 7.5x9.75, hardcover, dj
Limited to 1,500 numbered.
Limited supply left of copies signed by author.
It is fair to state that the world of hunting has brought forth its share of characters, eccentrics, and just plain unusual people. This was especially true in the Victorian era and its immediate aftermath. But even among hunters of this period, the marquis of Ripon, Olly to his friends, stuck out as a sore thumb.
Born at just the right time when the development of the side-by-side sporting shotgun and the art of driven game were both reaching their apex in the British Isles, Ripon made the most of both. Those were the days when industrialists, lords, and dukes as well as the king of England spent fortunes on driven shooting-it was an era of some of the greatest game bags ever seen.
Even in this rarefied world, Ripon stood out. He was a frequently asked guest at all the top shoots of the time, so it's no wonder that he was able to compile the records he did. He shot a trio of Purdey hammer guns, using two loaders. (Unbelievable as it may sound, he used FIVE trios of Purdeys during his lifetime!) He was said to be so fast and his loaders so well trained that he could have 4 dead birds up in the air at once. On one occasion he shot 28 pheasants in one minute. His record of game birds shot is unsurpassed and is so large that we won't repeat it here, but rest assured it is given in great detail in this fascinating book about his life. Ripon claimed a 70 percent hit ratio when shooting birds; certainly no man ever shot more with a shotgun and nobody will likely do so again, ever.
Much has been written about Ripon, but this is the one and only full-fledged biography of his life. The author did an extraordinary job of unearthing details about Ripon's life and his shooting career-even finding dozens of Ripon's game books. It was from these that the author found the great number of details and the amazing amount of game Ripon shot. Illustrated with many period photos, as well as drawings and reproduced pages of the game books, this book tells a story the equal of which will not occur again. Ripon died on 22 September 1923 at age 71 from a heart attack after having shot a near perfect score on 165 grouse and one snipe. With his death, the golden era of shotgunning indeed had come to an end.