Black-Bellied Plover Lothrop Turner Holmes (1824-1899) Kingston, MA, c. 1860 10 3/4 in. long
Unlike many professional carvers who earned a living selling their decoys, Lothrop Holmes, of Kingston, Massachusetts, only carved decoys for his own rig, which he used along the marshes of the Jones River and Duxbury Bay.
Lothrop Turner Holmes is one of the earliest documented shorebird makers from any region and is widely considered the top decoy maker of the nineteenth century.
This exact decoy is featured in "Shorebirds: The Birds, The Hunters, The Decoys" by Levinson and Headley. It features everything that astute collectors look for in a Massachusetts shorebird decoy, including exceptional form, spectacular blended feather paint, split-tail carving, stellar condition, and impeccable provenance.
A rigmate plover residing in a private California collection is believed to be the only other example to have survived from this important rig that features the maker’s tremendous wing paint. Outstanding original paint with even gunning wear and a replaced bill.
Provenance: John and Elizabeth Levinson Collection Grant Nelson Collection
Literature: Gwladys Hopkins, "Massachusetts Masterpieces," Lincoln, MA, 2016, p. 13, related example illustrated. John M. Levinson and Somers G. Headly, "Shorebirds: The Birds, The Hunters, The Decoys," Centreville, MD, 1991, p. 57, exact decoy illustrated.
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