The Parrish Rig Shourds Canada Goose
Harry V. Shourds (1861-1920)
Tuckerton, NJ, c. 1890
23 in. long
“The whole Jersey coast may well be proud of the hollow geese which were made and used from the Head of the Bay down to Somers Point. Collectively they are the finest, most carefully made, and altogether pleasing goose decoys left to us today.” — William J. Mackey Jr., “American Bird Decoys”
The rarity of Shourds geese in excellent original paint is notable, with only a handful residing in the nation’s premier collections. This hollow decoy is recognized as one the very finest New Jersey geese.
William Mackey was tremendously impressed by the life and work of Shourds. In his book, he shares, “Today Harry Shourdes’ [sic] decoys are prized by collectors. The neat, trim, careful work turned out by his capable hands has the quality of art.” He also recognized the rarity and quality of the maker's paint, stating, “Fortunate indeed is the collector who has an example of Shourdes’ [sic] work with its original paint intact for his painting was worthy of the excellent carving beneath.”
The head of this decoy is carved in a forward-arching position and features the broad cheeks and confident lines for which its maker is known. The hollow body is a showcase for the painter’s wet-on-wet feathering with crisp stripes on the side and tight swirls on the back. The underside retains its original poured weight, two museum stickers, and a Kirson Collection sticker. The provenance, exhibition, and literature history of this exact decoy tracks some of the top New Jersey decoy collectors of all time.
Excellent original paint with even gunning wear, some paint loss around body-seam nails, with very minor darkening to nail areas in feathering. Bill has darkened chip under tip and original fill to knot on left side.
Provenance: Parrish Rig
Harry Megargee Collection
Russ Holst Collection
Fred Ellenberg Collection, acquired from above
Jim and Deb Allen Collection
Donald Kirson Collection
Literature: Kenneth L. Gosner, "Working Decoys of the Jersey Coast and Delaware Valley," Cranbury, NJ, 1985, p. 56 pl. b, exact decoy illustrated.
James R. Doherty, "Classic New Jersey Decoys," Louisville, KY, 2011, p. 35, pl. 29 and 30, exact decoy illustrated.
Henry A. Fleckenstein Jr., "New Jersey Decoys," Exton, PA, 1983, p. 119, exact decoy illustrated (image reversed).
William J. Mackey Jr., "American Bird Decoys," New York, NY, 1965, p. 123-127, New Jersey geese and Shourds discussed.
Salisbury, Maryland, "Decoys and Gunning Traditions of the New Jersey Shore," Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, June 3, 2008–November 30, 2008.
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