D0874: Pair of BURBO Wood Pigeon Decoys, Circa 2Q, 20C

Set of two paper mache wood pigeons, circa early 1st quarter, 20th century. While these decoys are unmarked, another example exists that is known to be marked "BURBO", as sold by West and Son, Gunsmiths, Retford, UK. That partnership was dissolved in 1908. There are also unmarked cast metal examples of these decoys known. I suspect that the cast metal examples may have proven to be too expensive to manufacture, resulting in those decoys being used as forms from which the paper mache models were later made. I’ve seen several paper mache examples in the past, but none as nice as these. Rigors of weather and the hunt took there toll on many of these more fragile decoys. In original paint, there is flaking to the primer on the glass-eyed bodies and heads. While the bodies were made entirely of heavy paper, soaked in an adherent and laid over the cast metal forms, the heads appear to consist of small doweled wooden forms, left in place and overlaid with paper mache finishes as well. There is light shot scarring on both birds, attesting to their field use. These are large decoys, measuring 15” in length and 6” in width. Meant to be set directly on the ground, they also measure 6” from the hollow bottoms to the crowns of the heads. As can be seen photos, the heads can be rotated to any position, giving a more realistic appearance to the spread of decoys.

Price: $425.00

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D0861: Unknown Wood Pigeon Decoy, Cheshire, UK, Circa 1920-1930

Very nice wood pigeon decoy by an unknown English carver, circa 1920s - 1930s. Hunted on a farm in Cheshire, UK, it is likely from that area. The decoy is in very good original condition with glass eyes and carved raised wings. A rigmate to D0862, this is a big, broad-backed decoy measuring almost 5 1/4" across the shoulders and 14 3/4" in length. The decoy is in excellent structural condition with no age splits or other damage. Hand-whittled with knife marks visible, variations in size and structure between this decoy and its rigmate lead me to believe that they were carved by a hunter for his personal use rather than by a commercial maker. The last photo shows this decoy along with its rigmate, available separately. The two exhibit an individuality not always seen in their commercially produced counterparts, a sort of “swagger”, if you will! Stand not included.

Price: $550.00

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D0862: Early Unknown Cheshire English Wood Pigeon

Very nice wood pigeon decoy by an unknown English carver, circa 1920s - 1930s. Hunted on a farm in Cheshire, UK, it is likely from that area. The decoy is in very good original condition with glass eyes and carved raised wings. A gouge was used on the underside to partially hollow out the decoy, presumably to make it lighter so it would move in the wind when mounted on a stake. A big, broad-backed decoy, it measures 5 " across the shoulders and 13 1/2" in length. There is a tight age split running from the bird's crown to the back (see third photo). Hand-whittled with knife marks visible, variations in size and structure between this decoy and its rigmate, D0861, lead me to believe that they were carved by a hunter for his personal use rather than by a commercial maker. The last photo shows this decoy along with its rigmate, available separately. The two exhibit an individuality not always seen in their commercially produced counterparts, a sort of “swagger”, if you will! Stand not included.

Price: $550.00

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D0824: Harry Boddy Feeding Wood Pigeon Decoy

Feeding wood pigeon decoy by Harry Boddy, Walderslade, Kent, United Kingdom, circa 1935. The bird, painted in fall plumage, is in original paint with moderate flaking and wear. It has screw eyes set in separate grommets to simulate eye rings, a cast metal beak 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 hold the included metal spike for setting the decoy in the ground. There is a clasp at back of tail to secure the spike. The patent number is also ink-stamped on the underside of the tail. The decoy measures 14.5" in length and 4" in width. While many of the feeding decoys by both Boddy and his protegee, Ted Grace, were made from two pieces of wood with a convex lower second piece of wood nailed to the upper concave piece of the body, this decoy is carved from one piece. As the lower piece had the center cut out to form an elongated "horse collar" hollow, I have to believe this method was found to be easier to accomplish than otherwise hand-hollowing the one-piece decoy from below. Under this assumption, the one-piece decoys such as this one have to be considered the earlier examples. In the last photo, the Boddy decoy is in the middle, flanked by a similar yet bulkier unknown decoy on the left and a more slender example by Grace on the right. Stand included.

Price: $450.00

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D0791: Excellent Wood Pigeon Decoy by Robert Lange, Circa 1890s

Excellent English wood pigeon attributed to Robert Lange, Yorkshire, UK, circa 1890s. 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 mottled breast, neatly scalloped neck patches and fluid but precisely applied wing markings. The original paint shows light to moderate with some flaking. The bill is a professional replacement. The decoy measures 13" in length. Stand included.

Price: $1195.00

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