Rare Yellowlegs Lothrop Turner Holmes (1824-1899) Kingston, MA, c. 1870 11 1/2 in. long
Very few Holmes shorebirds have ever been documented. This superb example features elegantly formed, raised-wing carving and well-executed paint. Branded "GEP" on the bottom for the rig of George E. Patterson (1863-1946). Patterson was a Salem, Massachusetts, gentleman who owned an insurance company. He ran with some of greater Boston's sporting royalty, hunting over decoys by Lothrop Holmes and A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952) and gunning with Frank W. Benson (1862-1951) and John C. Phillips (1876-1938).
According to Gigi Hopkins in "Massachusetts Masterpieces," "Frank W. Benson was the most frequent visitor of many to George Patterson's hidden gunning camp and in fact, he finished many fine paintings there. Patterson held Benson in such high esteem that he made a solid gold version of his shorebird whistle and presented it to him as a gift. In 1942, Patterson donated two of his Holmes yellowlegs to the then Peabody Museum in Salem. In stark contrast, a few years later, a local gunner took two sugar barrels packed with George’s decoys to the town dump, where they were burned.” Original paint with even wear, some gunning touch-up to white on underside, and a replaced bill.
Provenance: George E. Patterson Rig Grant Nelson Collection
Literature: Gwladys Hopkins, "Massachusetts Masterpieces," Lincoln, MA, 2016, pp. 49 and 103, pl. 17, rigmate illustrated. Guyette and Schmidt, "Important Auction of Rare Waterfowl Decoys from the Collection of John Hillman," April 25 & 26, 1996, West Farmington, ME, 1996, p. 51, lot 175, exact decoy illustrated.
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