e"> "Close Cart"

Verity Sleeping Black Duck Decoy

Verity Sleeping Black Duck Decoy

Item Description:

Seaford, Long Island, c. 1870
11 1/2 in. long

The head and body of this early Seaford decoy are carved from a single block of wood, while the tail is inserted and held in place with wooden pegs. The rarity of this black duck cannot be overstated, with just a single related example held in the Richard McIntyre Collection.

Both Adele Earnest and William J. Mackey illustrate and discuss Long Island sleeping decoys in their books.

Discussing the example in the McIntyre Collection, Mackey states, “Without question a few Great South Bay duck and goose decoys were made before 1850... it is difficult to be specific about which are the oldest Long Island decoys and impossible to state who made them. Better to enjoy the simple fact that some fine, classic examples are available."

Adele Ernest, in her book "The Art of the Decoy," takes an even more ethereal approach when discussing two sleeping duck sculptures: "... a Sumerian duck in the Metropolitan Museum that, in its simplicity of form, does resemble a sleeping duck... But this ancient duck is a stone weight, not a decoy. It is curious that the sensuous, self-contained forms are so similar, although The Artisans were separated by oceans, worlds, and forty centuries of time.” True to her book's title, "The Art of the Decoy," Earnest addresses the universality of appealing form.
Working paint with gunning wear.

Provenance: Bud Ward Collection

Capt. George W. Combs Sr. Collection, acquired from the above

Private Collection by descent in the family

Literature: William J. Mackey Jr., "American Bird Decoys," New York, NY, 1965, pp. 95-96, pl. 78, related example illustrated.

Adele Earnest, "The Art of the Decoy," West Chester, PA, 1965, pp. 41-42, related example and Sumarian duck weight illustrated.

Paul A. Johnsgard, "The Bird Decoy: An American Art Form," Lincoln, NE, 1976, p. 60, fig. 52, related example illustrated.


Please email condition report requests to Any condition statement given is a courtesy to customers, Copley will not be held responsible for any errors or omissions. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition.




Check out our auctions with similar lots.