17 - 18 January 2008
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION
An Important And Extremely Rare "Humpback" Model Widgeon Drake
Ward Brothers, Crisfield, Maryland, circa 1920s
With turned head, flowing lines and puffy cheeks
Original paint with minor wear, very minor roughness to tip of bill, two small cracks in head
14½ in. long
Signed and dated "1926" by Lem Ward
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Henry Fleckenstein Jr., Decoys of the Mid-Atlantic Region (Exton, PA, 1979), p. 168.(Illustrated)
Colio Quintina, American Decoys (New York, 1965), p. 3. (Illustrated)
The "humpback" style is one of the earliest and most desirable of the many styles that the Ward brothers created over their long and colorful carving history. Brother's Steven and Lemuel were born and raised in Chrisfield on Maryland's lower Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Chrisfield and the surrounding areas along the Chesapeake Bay fell within one of the nation's major flyways for migrating waterfowl. The Wards built a life centered around the activities that the Eastern Shore town provided. Their father Travis was a barber and a carver of decoys, trades that both sons practiced. The brothers carved decoys for over fifty years until Steve's death in 1976.
For a similar decoy see Ronald Guard Ward Brothers Decoys, A Collector's Guide (Wolf City, 1989), p. 93.
This specific decoy was the subject of a highly poplar Ward Brothers' poster created by noted artist Milton Weiler.
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