D0816: Early Wood Pigeon Decoy, Yorkshire, UK. Circa Late 1800s

An excellent early solid-bodied decoy with applied wings, raised wing tips and a full, protruding breast, it shares many characteristics with the carvings attributed to Robert Lange and Robert Sainz (See http://www.woodpigeondecoys.com), both from Yorkshire, characteristics that seem to be common to that area. However, there are just enough differences to make me believe that it was made in the late 1800s to early 1900s by a third carver from that area. The incised primaries on the wings and form of the flared and fluted tail as opposed to the tapered tails most often seen in decoys from this area are unique, while the shapes of the head, bill and full body are not. The decoy, measuring 13" in length, is in original paint with average wear and a professionally replaced bill, wing tip repair and tail repair. In the last photo this decoy is on the left of its rigmate, D0817, listed separately. See my other website, www.woodpigeondecoys.com, dedicated to the identification and documentation of these decoys and their carvers for additional information. SOLD

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D0823: Unknown Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa 2Q, 20C

Very nice wood pigeon decoy by an unknown English carver, circa 2nd quarter, 20th century. The decoy exhibits characteristics most often seen in carvings from the Suffolk area such as those by Harry Boddy and Ted Grace; however this 15-inch long decoy is slightly larger and fuller-bodied with a thicker head and neck than those of the aforementioned carvers. As with Boddy's and Grace's birds, the front wing and shoulder outlines are cut in; however, this carver continued the lower wing outline along the sides, culminating in a "V" atop the tail. In original paint, also of the typical Suffolk pattern, the decoy has glass eyes. The bill is also original and appears to be carved integrally with the rest of the decoy rather than being carved or cast separately and inset into the head. In the last photo, this decoy is on the left of somewhat similar examples by Harry Boddy (center)and a Ted Grace (right), listed separately. See my other website, www.woodpigeondecoys.com, dedicated to the identification and documentation of these decoys and their carvers for additional information. Stand included. SOLD

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D0821: Snakey-Head Swimming Blue-Winged Teal Decoy, Circa 2Q, 20C

Very fine solid-bodied, glass-eyed swimming snakey-head blue-winged teal hen by an unknown Midwest carver, circa 2nd quarter, 20th century. The decoy is highly detailed with incised primaries and secondaries as well as raised wingtips and a fluted tail. The outstretched head, mounted on a raised neckseat, is turned roughly 25 degrees to the right and includes a carved nail and mandibles with painted nostrils. The well-executed original paint features extensive detailed feathering and muted tones. The body of the decoy itself measures 11 1/2" in length with the outstretched head adding another 3" in length. The bird is about 4 1/4" wide and 5 1/4" high at the head. The decoy was last found in an estate sale in Cuba, Illinois; however, the owner stated that it was from Minnesota. While the incised feathering and paint style seem to support a Minnesota origin, the shelved tail and raised wingtips have an Illinois River feel. SOLD

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D0818: Unknown High-Head Blue-Winged Teal Decoy, Circa 2Q, 20C

Unknown blue-winged teal hen in a high-head pose from the Midwest, possibly Wisconsin, circa 2nd quarter, 20th century. The decoy is solid-bodied with glass eyes. It is in original paint except for touchup to a neck repair and has been protected by an old coat of varnish which has faded to a nice matte patina over the areas of the decoy exposed to sunlight. There is a very tight age crack in the right side at the tail and slight paint chipping on the back and at the tail tips. The body has been bored in two spots from below with molten lead added for ballast. SOLD

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D0815: Hollow Myrl Smith Ontario Black Duck Decoy

Near-mint hollow-bodied black duck decoy attributed to Myrl Smith, Dunnville, Ontario, circa 3rd quarter, 20th century. Measuring 16" in length, 6" in width and standing 6.5" in height, the decoy is expertly carved and detailed with rasping, heavily textured comb painting and intricate bill carving. The decoy is fitted with a pendulum-style stabilizing weight on the bottom and bears the maker's mark on both the base of the decoy and as well as on the lead weight. The base is also marked "B1", perhaps signifying that this was the maker's first black duck decoy. An old tag on this decoy when I purchased it attributed the decoy to a Harry Richardson, circa 1950s to 1960s; however, the maker's marks (DMS?) on both the decoy and the weight make it very improbable that Richardson made this decoy. SOLD

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D0810: Francis Rolph Wood Pigeon Decoy, Early 1900s

Excellent wood pigeon decoy attributed to Francis Rolph of Lakenheath, Suffolk, United Kingdom, circa 1900-1910. The decoy is in original paint with light wear. It is unusual in that the head and body are carved in separate pieces, similar to many North American decoys, but a characteristic I've seen in no other English wood pigeons. It has carved shoulders and wings, the original bill, glass eyes and a pleasing patina. Painted in the specie's fall plumage, the full-bodied bird measures about 14.5" in length, 4" in width and 3.5" in depth at the breast. Francis was the father of James Rolph who continued carving decoys into the 1940s using the same basic pattern but with a one-piece body and head. One of Francis's decoys, unidentified as to maker, can be found in Joel Barber's book written in 1935 (Plate 54). English wood pigeons have garnered the well-deserved attention of American collectors. Similar in time frame to North American waterfowl and shorebird decoys, they have been used in the United Kingdom since the latter part of the 1800s with examples ranging from the deeply carved examples sold by Trulock and Harriss and R. Ward Co. to the more stylized examples of the Rolphs, Jaggard, Boddy and Robert Lange. See my other website, www.woodpigeondecoys.com, dedicated to the identification and documentation of these decoys and their carvers for additional information. SOLD

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D0812: Ted Grace Feeding Wood Pigeon Decoy

Feeding wood pigeon decoy by Edward Arthur "Ted" Grace, Walderslade, Kent, United Kingdom, circa 1950s. The bird, painted in fall plumage, is in well-blended and detailed original feather paint with a nice patina. A very well-formed bird, it has screw eyes set in separate shoe eyelets to simulate eye rings, a cast metal bill and relief carved shoulders. The pigeon is hollowed from below with an inset metal plate marked "Pat. 431190" (Issued to Harry Boddy in 1935) to join the included aluminum stake for setting the decoy in the ground. There is a clasp at the back of tail to store the stake. Grace's purchase of Boddy's business in 1952 included the patent rights as well as remaining parts such as the attachment plates and stakes. According to the patent documents, "...under the action of wind, it (the designed means of attachment) simulates the action of a feeding bird". The hollowed portion of the body in these decoys is made from a second piece of wood, nailed to the of the upper body. This second piece is curved on top to fit a corresponding concave curve in the upper piece. Grace continued Boddy's work with relatively minor changes that can make the decoys by the two men difficult to distinguish between. Grace made his decoys with narrower and more tapered heads and necks (See last photo; Grace's decoy is on the left) and painted his decoys with a lighter palette than seen on those by Boddy. This decoy measures 14" in length and 4" in width. In original paint with overall light wear and a rub at the crown of the head, it has been lightly hit with shot. It is important to note that the very rare original stake is included. Stamped with the patent number, it is the only such example I've ever seen. For additional information on the work of Harry Boddy and Ted Grace, please visit my website, www.woodpigeondecoys.com, where you'll find a copy of my article from the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of Hunting & Fishing Collectibles Magazine as well as documentation of a number of other pigeon makers and examples of their decoys. Stand included. SOLD

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D0779: Mint Robert Lange Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa 1900

Mint example attributed to Robert Lange, Yorkshire, UK, circa 1900. There is a possibility, however, that the decoys attributed to Lange were actually made by an unnamed Scottish carver. Regardless, they were limited in production and are some of the finest early decoys the UK has to offer, perhaps second only to those of Trulock & Harriss. Stylistically, they are similar to some of the better North American shorebird decoys of the same period, with smoothly carved bodies and a deft brushstroke applied in what has been called a "Spenserian style". A solid-bodied decoy measuring 13.5" in length with applied wings, extended wing tips and a full, protruding breast, one would be hard pressed to find a finer example by this important maker (See www.woodpigeondecoys.com). This glass-eyed example, exhibiting an excellent patina, is in bright breeding plumage with mottled breast, neatly scalloped neck patches and fluid but precisely applied wing markings. Stand included. SOLD

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