Cobb Island, VA, c. 1880
15 in. long
A stylish running curlew with a humped back, a bold head, eye grooves, and a sharp wing tip cut. From Massachusetts to Virginia, the running curlew is one of the most celebrated shorebird patterns for numerous makers. The dynamic form seen in this early curlew decoy illustrates why the Cobbs are considered amongst the South’s greatest shorebird carvers. This decoy, with its distinct tail cut, ridged back, splined through bill, and eye grooves, appears to be by the same hand as the famous Mackey-Purnell goose featured in "The Hundred Greatest" and "The Great Book of Wildfowl Decoys." That goose decoy has historically been identified as the work of Walter Brady, Oyster, Virginia.
Old working paint with a replaced bill and touch-up to top of head.
Provenance: Ray Davies, The 1807 House
Dr. Peter J. Muller Jr. Collection, acquired from the above in the 1970s
Literature: Henry A. Fleckenstein Jr., New Jersey Decoys, Exton, PA, 1983, p. 95, pl. LXVI, rigmate illustrated.
William J. Mackey Jr., American Bird Decoys, New York, NY, 1965, p. 155, pl. 128, related example illustrated.
Loy S. Harrell Jr., Decoys: North America’s One Hundred Greatest, Iola, WI, 2000, p. 157, related carving illustrated.
Joe Engers, ed., The Great Book of Wildfowl Decoys, San Diego, CA, 1990, p. 159, related carving illustrated.
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