M331: Leo McIntosh Solitary Sandpiper, Signed, 1986

Decorative solitary sandpiper decoy carving by Leo H. McIntosh, Jr. (1953 - 2007), Stony Creek Decoys, Woodville, New York, dated 1986. Recognized as one of the best contemporary decoy carvers before his untimely death, Leo apprenticed with Ken Harris for five years before founding Stony Creek Decoys. This handsome solid-bodied shorebird measures about over 6" from bill to tail. Other than touch up to an imperceptible professional bill repair by Russ Allen, it is in near-mint and highly detailed feather paint with glass eyes. The bird has incised and slightly raised primaries with deeply carved shoulders and wing edges. The included base reads, "Solitary Sandpiper, Stony Creek Decoys by Leo H. McIntosh, Jr., '86". Stand included. SOLD

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M339: Vintage Pair of Pintail Drake Decoy Bookends

Fine pair of glass-eyed pintail drake decoy bookends by an unknown carver, circa 3rd quarter, 20th century. They are somewhat high-headed and have a West Coast look to them. The carvings are in unique, excellent and very intricate "tiger stripe" feather paint with a small amount of flaking on each bill and several small rubs on the heads. The bills are very detailed with carved nails, mandibles and nostrils. There are several small and tight age cracks in the necks of each and another in the breast of one. The bookends are about 6-1/2" wide and stand 8-1/2" high. SOLD

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C003: Miller Collection: From Decoys to Decoratives

Decorative decoys and bird carvings from the collection of Ellen and Doug Miller in collaboration with Arts Memphis and Ducks Unlimited. Mint condition softcover publication issued as part of Conservation Through Art 2014, published by Guyette & Deeter. 90-pages with full color photos of over 300 photographs along with brief carver biographies of decorative bird carvings collected by the Millers over a 40-year period. Artists whose work is represented include John Scheeler, William Schultz, Tan Brunet, Harold Haertel, Jim Schmiedlin and Bruce Burk, among others. US shipping included. SOLD

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D0792: English Wood Pigeon Decoy, Robert Lange, Yorkshire, UK, Circa 1900

Very fine English wood pigeon 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 some of the finest early decoys the UK has to offer. 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". This glass-eyed example is in bright breeding plumage with neatly scalloped neck patches and fluid but precisely applied wing markings. The decoy measures 13" in length. 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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D0777: R. Ward & Co. Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa Late 19th Century

In the earliest documentation of the use of wood pigeon decoys that I have found, renowned London taxidermist Rowland Ward wrote in “The Sportsman’s Handbook” in 1880, “The employment of dummies and decoys for birds, and especially for shore-birds, is interesting and useful. Probably in all parts of the world ingenuity can adapt this resource in degree. As a rule gregarious birds are those most subject to the fascination, for such it is. To give examples in our own country, wood-pigeons can be attracted thus: Any carpenter can make the shape of a wood-pigeon in rough; no legs need be shaped, but a stick should project from the lower part of the breast, so that the dummy can be fixed on the ground, or placed in a tree, as may be required; this figure must be painted in colour to represent the pigeon, and the paint must be ‘flatted’, that is, not glossy. It is astonishing how the wild birds will come down to their haunts when they see this dummy there to assure them”. Heeding his own advice, Ward began offering what were perhaps the first commercially-produced wood pigeon decoys through his London company, R. Ward and Co., somewhere in the last quarter of the 19th century. I’ve corresponded with several authorities on Roland Ward and his work, and there is no evidence that these decoys were made by either Ward or a member of his staff. Instead, they were probably made for Ward on a seasonal or “as needed” basis by an unknown carver or carvers from the London area where Ward had his shop. It has been suggested that the same carvers that made gun stocks for the company may also have made the decoys, a most plausible theory in my opinion. As with this example, the Ward decoys exhibited heavily carved raised and extended wings, a fanned tail, deeply-carved eyes and overall carved feather detail. The bills were carved and inset. In original paint with touch up to professional tail and bill repairs, this example with its head turned approximately 30 degrees to the right and with scalloped breast and wings, is one of the best Ward decoys I've seen. As seen in the last photo, there is some damage to the two wingtips. A big bird, it measures 16" in length and is 5" wide across the shoulders. 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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D0794: Pair of Walter Lowry, Sr., Mallard Decoys, Circa 1930s

Outstanding hollow-bodied mallard pair with glass eyes and detailed bill carving by Walter J. Lowry, Sr., of La Crosse, Wisconsin, circa 1930s. Lowry was a well known and respected banker in La Crosse and across the Midwest. Along with Michael Suhrada of Prairie du Chien, he was one of the most prolific carvers of the Mississippi River Basin, carving over 200 of Wisconsin's finest decoys from the 1920s through the 1940s. This pair, in near-mint original paint showing some yellowing from age, possesses incredibly intricate paint patterns, especially on the hen. The painting on Lowry’s mallard hens is among the best in the country. They are structurally excellent with no splitting , cracking or seam separation. Each decoy measures 16" in length, stands 6" high at the head and is 5-1/2" wide. SOLD

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D0782: Wood Pigeon Decoy From George G. Bussey Co.

Very fine solid-bodied English wood pigeon decoy with orange glass eyes and its original inset bill from the Geo. G. Bussey Co., one of London’s premier sporting goods dealers, circa 2nd quarter of the 20th century. Reminisient in form of the earlier decoys by Trulock and Harris, the Bussey decoys had detailed wing, shoulder and tail carving with raised wing tips and high quality paint in the breeding plumage. A black and gold sticker with the company's "GGB" logo was affixed to the bottom of the decoys. The company was founded by George Gibson Bussey (1829-1889) around 1860 and remained in business until the late 1940s. They had a large manufacturing facility in Peckham, a district of London, where many of the products carried in their stores were made. It is quite conceivable that these decoys were made by the company at that facility, although the possibility exists that the decoys were made offsite by local craftsmen on a contract basis. The decoy measures 14" in length and is approximately 4-3/4" wide across the shoulders. It is in strong detailed original paint with touchup to a 1/2" wide professional repair on the left edge of the tail. The decoy before the repair is shown in the last photo. 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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D0793: Michigan Pintail Drake Decoy, Circa 2nd Q, 20th C.

Very nice solid-bodied pintail drake by an unknown Michigan carver, circa 2nd quarter, 20th century. Carved with a flat bottom and straight sides, the decoy has a well formed and distinctive head with glass eyes and a nicely tapered tail. The neck seat is partially routed into the body so that the back of the neck is inset 1/2" - 3/4" while the front of the neck is flush with the top of the body. The decoy is in original paint and structurally sound except for some flaking of the neck filler. The head remains firmly attached, however. There is part of a sticker on the bottom of the decoy that I assume identified a possible carver. The first three letters of the name are "Rue". It looks like the fourth letter might have been a "P" or a "T". Based on the size of the tag that remains, I'm guessing the rest of the name had 3 to 5 more letters. I haven't been able to find any published information on a carver whose last name starts "Rue", so it could be a misspelling of a name such as "Rupert" or "Reuters". The decoy measures 17-1/2" in length, 6-1/2" in width and is 7-1/2" tall. SOLD

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