Lee, Rawdon Briggs (DNB12)

LEE, RAWDON BRIGGS (1845–1908), writer on dogs, born on 9 July 1845, was son of George Lee, unitarian minister at Kendal, and proprietor and editor of the 'Kendal Mercury.' His mother was Jane Agnes, daughter of Joseph Whitaker of Kendal, who was intimate there with the painter Romney.

After education at the Friends' school, Kendal, Lee learned journalism under his father, whom he ultimately succeeded in the editorship of the 'Mercury,' retaining it till 1883. But he gave much time to field sports, especially fishing, otter-hunting, and cricket, becoming also an authority upon wrestling, and in spite of defective eyesight one of the finest fly-fishers in England, with an unrivalled knowledge of angling in the Lake district. He made his chief reputation, however, as a breeder of dogs. In 1869 he first formed a kennel, and his pack of Fellside terriers became well known to otter-hunters. But fox-terriers were his especial fancy In 1871 he won the cup at the national show at Birmingham with a dog (Mac II) of this breed; and other prize-winners, such as Nimrod and Gripper, were exceptionally fine specimens. He was also successful with Dandie Dinmonts, pointers, collies, bull-terriers, Skye-terriers, and Clumber spaniels. His English setter, Richmond, after winning the highest honours at home, went to Australia to improve the breed. Lee acted as judge at dog-shows held at Bath, Darlington, and Lancaster, but declined to adjudicate abroad. He finally retired from the show-ring in 1892. A powerful advocate of field-trials for sporting dogs, he did much to extend the movement which began in 1865.

Meanwhile, Lee, who had for several years written in the 'Field' on angling and dog-breeding, came to London in 1883, and joined its staff, succeeding John Henry Walsh [q. v.] as kennel-editor, and holding that post until June 1907. He also contributed occasionally to 'Land and Water,' the 'Fishing Gazette,' the 'Stock-keeper,' and other papers. His health failed owing to injury in a carriage accident at Kendal. Ho died from paralysis in a nursing home at Putney on 29 Feb. 1908. His body was cremated at Golder's Green, the ashes being afterwards buried in the family vault at Kendal. He had married in Feb. 1907 Emily, daughter of Lieut, Charles Dyer, and widow of Edward King, of Wavington, Bedfordshire.

Lee, who, whilst living in London, formed an excellent collection of books and pictures on sporting subjects, published the following works, which are standard authorities: 1. 'History and Description of the Fox-terrier,' 1889; 4th edit., enlarged, 1902. 2. 'History and Description of the Collie or Sheep Dog in his British Varieties,' illustrated by Arthur Wardle, 1890. 3. 'History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland — Non-sporting Division,' illustrated by A. Wardle and R. H. Moore, 1894; new edit. 1899. 4. 'History and Description of the Terriers,' illustrated by the same artists, 1894; 3rd edit. 1903. 5. 'History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland — Sporting Division,' illustrated by A. Wardle, 2 vols. 1897; 3rd edit. 1906. He also wrote, with Fred Gresham, the article on the Dog in the 'Encyclopaedia of Sport.'

[Private information; The Times, 2 March 1908; Field, Sporting and Dramatic News, and Westmorland Gazette, 7 March 1908; Kendal Mercury, 6 March; Lee's works.]

G. Le G. N.