The Sutton Rig Preening Mallard Charles H. Perdew (1874-1963) Henry, IL, c. 1947 13 3/4 in. long
Of his many styles, Perdew is most revered for his masterful sleepers and preening decoys. Both Robert Elliston and Charles Perdew felt that the presence of sleepers and preeners added a suggested calm to the rig that was more enticing to waterfowl. Whether this actually made any difference to the circling birds is subject to debate; however, the graceful pose inherent in these styles is certainly desirable among collectors.
This rare preening mallard hen displays Charles Perdew’s best paint in pristine condition. The underside retains a "Henry...Perdew...Ill." lead-strip weight.
Discussing this exact decoy, Illinois River decoy authority Randy Root writes, “It is in unused condition with no repairs. This decoy is from a rig of decoys made for Dr. Charles M. Sutton of Chillicothe and Springfield, IL in 1947. The rig consisted of at least a dozen mallards, a pair of pintails, and a pair of canvasbacks. After returning from World War II Dr. Sutton placed an order with Charles Perdew for the decoys and received them in 1947. Although all the others were used for hunting the sleeper was put on the mantle.”
Further speaking to the quality of the bird, Root writes, "I have been collecting and dealing in decoys since ‘67 and undoubtably this Perdew is the best sleeper carved and painted by Charley. It is better than almost all of the ones painted by Edna.”
Near mint original paint.
Provenance: Charles M. Sutton Rig, 1947 Ruth Bayless Collection, acquired c. 1978 Mark Smith Collection
Literature: Ann Tandy Lacy, "Perdew: An Illinois Tradition," Muncie, IN, 1993, dust jacket cover, related example illustrated. Loy S. Harrell, Jr., "Decoys: North America's One Hundred Greatest," Iola, WI, 2000, pp. 164 and 165, related example illustrated. Stephen O'Brien and Julie Carlson, "Masterworks of the Illinois River," Boston, MA, 2005, p. 81, related example illustrated.
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