The Mackey Shourds Long-Tail
Harry V. Shourds (1861-1920)
Tuckerton, NJ, c. 1890
13 1/2 in. long
This singular Shourds carving is considered one of the pinnacle gunning decoys to come out of New Jersey. In addition to its sterling condition, its documentation and rarity make it the maker's most distinctive duck decoy. It was first documented in the collections of William J. Mackey Jr. and Quintina Colio. Indeed, this carving was in at least three of Mackey’s public exhibitions and it bears his collection ink stamp three times, one in each of the following colors: red, black, and white. This drake was selected to represent Shourds in Milton Weiler’s 1969 “Classic Decoy Series” folio. Muller acquired this decoy directly from the first Mackey auction in 1973. While in the Muller Collection, it was selected for the Ward Museum’s 1994-1995 "Classic Decoys & Sporting Art" exhibit. Recognizing it as the best of its kind, James R. Doherty illustrated this exact drake, alongside the hen from his collection, in his “Classic New Jersey Decoys” book.
A longtime favorite of Dr. Muller's, this decoy was selected for the collection's ink stamp.
Excellent original paint with light and even gunning wear, minor fill and touch-up at neck crack, and darkening to an old tail chip.
Provenance: Quintina Colio Collection
William J. Mackey Jr. Collection
Dr. Peter J. Muller Jr. Collection, acquired from the sale of the above, 1973
Literature: James R. Doherty, "Classic New Jersey Decoys," Louisville, KY, 2011, p. 54, pl. 80, exact decoy illustrated.
Richard A. Bourne Co., Inc., "Very Rare and Important American Bird Decoys from the Collection of the late William J. Mackey Jr. of Belford, New Jersey," Hyannis, MA, 1973, Session I & II, lot 576, exact decoy illustrated.
Milton C. Weiler, "The Classic Decoy Series: A Portfolio of Paintings," New York, NY, 1969, pl. 20, exact decoy illustrated.
Sam Dyke et al., “Classic Hunting Decoys & Sporting Art,” Salisbury, MD, 1994, p. 15, exact decoy illustrated.
Joe Engers, “Dr. Peter J. Muller: Bringing a good eye and an artistic approach to decoy collecting,” Decoy Magazine, January/February 2008, cover and p. 10, exact decoy illustrated.
Exhibited: Manhattan, New York, “The Decoy Maker’s Craft,” IBM Gallery of Arts and
Sciences, August 29-October 1, 1966.
St. Paul, Minnesota, “American Bird Decoys Selected from the Collection of William J. Mackey Jr.,” St. Paul Art Center, September 28-November 12, 1967.
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, “American Bird Decoys Selected from the Collection of William J. Mackey Jr.,” The Paine Art Center and Arboretum, December 2-31, 1967.
Salisbury, Maryland, “Classic Hunting Decoys & Sporting Art,” Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, September 20, 1994-January 1, 1995.
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