M384, Rare Blue-Winged Teal Drake, Amateur Savoie

Rare half-duck decorative carving of a blue-winged teal drake decoy by New Brunswick's most famous carver, Amateur "Mat" Savoie (1896-1983) of Lower Neguac, dated 1960. Although Savoie made between 6000 and 7,000 decoys in his busy carving career, he carved very few teal and less than 100 of these very interesting folky half-ducks! The full-sized (11.75” x 4.75”) carving is in original condition with great hand-written notes on the back, including the dates (both October 4th and 5th, 1960), the species, his name, the location and the temperature. Also included is the phrase, “Belle journe” (sic). “Belle Journee” translates to “beautiful day” or “have a nice day”. The body has overall feather stamping by Savoie, using what he called his "secret tool". The glass-eyed head is highly detailed with lightly-gouged feathering and precise bill carving. The tail also has detailed feather carving. A great piece of folk art! SOLD

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M382: Quebec Decoy Shadow Boxes, Circa 2Q, 20C

Pair of shadowboxes featuring glass-eyed, half-bodied, goldeneye drake and black duck decoys by Alain de Lotbiniere (Bebe) MacDonald (1886-1961), circa 2nd quarter, 20th century. MacDonald was from Rigaud in southwestern Quebec, near Montreal. He is recognized as an important Quebec artist and carver, not only for the quantity and quality of his work, but also for his influence on other craftsmen. After serving in the Canadian army during WWI, Bebe worked for Robin Last Shoe Factory before opening studios in Rigaud and Montreal. He made fine and highly sought-after decoys as well as his folk art wall plaques and was known for his meticulous decoy heads and precision in painting, both of which characteristics are on display in these plaques. Each plaque is set in a shadowbox-style frame measuring 10" x 8” x 1 5/8”. Both birds are approximately 6” in length and 3-1/2” high at the head. The black duck features scratch-feather paint on both the head and body. Each duck shows some paint wear at the center of their bodies and there is crazing to the paint of the marsh grasses . Both ducks have carved primaries, fluted tails and and detailed bill carving. There is light wear to the paint on the shadowbox frames as well as some very light age-spotting on the backgrounds of each plaque. There is also some twisting to the frames so that they do not lay flat. Neither plaque is signed nor labeled. SOLD

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D0965: Rare R. Ward & Co. English Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa 1870s.

In the earliest documentation of the use of wood pigeon decoys that I have seen, 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 around the beginning of the 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. As with this example, the Ward decoys exhibited heavily carved raised and extended wings, fanned tails, tack eyes and overall carved feather detail, including checkering in the breast area. The inset bill is original but slightly blunted. The paint is a mixture of original with in-use repaint showing moderate to heavy flaking and wear to the bare wood in some areas. There are repairs to the tail and to an age split in the right wing with touch up to those areas. A large bird measuring 14.5" in length and 5.5" in width across the shoulders, its head is canted to the side and turned slightly to the left. There is also slight damage to the tip of the left wingtip and an unfilled age split in the left wing. The initials "S.C." are stamped or incised on the bottom of the tail. Stand included. SOLD

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D0969: Francis Rolph Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa 1900 - 1910

Wood pigeon decoy by Francis Rolph of Lakenheath, Suffolk, United Kingdom, circa 1900 - 1910. Rolph was the area's largest dealer in all manner of birds and game. After inquiries from customers, he began making decoys as early as 1880, concentrating on pigeon decoys. Moderately worn with a pleasing patina, this stylish pigeon measures 14" in length with relief carved shoulders and wings and white glass eyes. The bill is an old but well done replacement. The full-bodied carving is in a mixture of original paint and old in-use touch up, including the white markings around the neck and at the bottom edges of the wings which are old, but not done in a style typical of Rolph's work. They were most likely added by the hunter many years ago at the same time that the bill was replaced. The staple in the back of the bird attests to the fact that on some occasions it was used as a "lofter", hung from a tree brach to provide some motion and realism to the decoy rig. Stand included. SOLD

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D0967: Unknown English Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa 1920s - 1930s

English wood pigeon decoy by an unknown maker, circa 1920s - 1930s. This decoy was most likely made by a hunter for his personal use. It is solid-bodied with glass eyes and deeply carved raised wing tips. The paint displays a nice patina and is original other than for touchup to the bill which has had a repair to a 1/3" chip at its tip and some old strengthening to areas on the red breast.. There are several splashes/drips of red paint from the breast on the back and side of the decoy. Stand included.

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M386: H. V. Shourds II Preening Yellowlegs, Dated 1997

Mint preening glass-eyed yellowlegs by Harry V. Shourds II, Seaville, New Jersey, signed and dated 1997. Born in 1930, he is a third-generation decoy carver. His grandfather, Harry Vinuckson Shourds, and father, Harry M. Shourds, were two of New Jersey's greatest decoy makers. Despite this legacy, Shourds II has developed his own distinctive style. Carving full-time since 1962, he has also written extensively on decoys and their construction. This carving is in detailed original paint with no repairs or damage. Stand included. SOLD

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M385: David Walker Curlew, Havre de Grace, Circa 4Q, 20C

Upright curlew with split tail, glass eyes and 5" iron bill by David Walker of Havre de Grace, Maryland, circa 4th quarter, 20th century. He founded Walker Decoys in 1977, carrying on the Susquehanna Flats decoy tradition utilizing skills he learned from Madison Mitchell and Jimmy Pierce. Measuring 11" from the crown of the head to the tip of the tail, this curlew is in excellent detailed feather paint with carved wing and shoulder outlines. It is branded "Walker" on the bottom. Stand included. SOLD

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M384: Homer Lawrence/Sally Riffe Lesser Yellowlegs, Circa 3Q, 20C

Outstanding lesser yellowlegs by Homer Lawrence (1889-1968), Norwalk, Connecticut. Lawrence, along with Sally Riffe, created their magnificent sculptures in Lawrence's shop, "Birds in Wood", located on Connnecticut Avenue in S. Norwalk, during the 1950s and early 1960s. Lawrence carved the birds with field-collected examples in hand. Using the same examples, Riffe painted the birds, capturing the true colors and patterns in displays that rival the best works of such masters such as Elmer Crowell, John Dilley and the Ward brothers. As was typical of their work, Homer's name is carved into the base with "S. Riffe" marked in ink below. This yellowlegs, measuring 10.5" in length and standing 11.5" tall, is in incredibly detailed near-mint feather paint. Its head, with high quality glass eyes, is turned sharply to the right, and the bird is standing on one leg. The only "flaws" are a tiny speck of paint missing from the tip of the bill and a very small dent in the tip of the tail. SOLD

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