lots of lots

The "Masterworks" Elliston Preening Mallard Decoy,

Similar Sale History

View More Items in Decoys
item-104718714=1
item-104718714=2
item-104718714=3
item-104718714=4
The "Masterworks" Elliston Preening Mallard Decoy,
Item Details
Description
The "Masterworks" Elliston Preening Mallard
Robert Elliston (1847-1925)
and Catherine Elliston (1858-1953)Bureau, IL, c. 1890 14 1/2 in. long

Widely regarded as the founders of the Illinois River commercial decoy carving tradition, the duo of Robert and Catherine Elliston set the standard against which all Illinois River decoys are measured. Like Lem and Steve Ward from Crisfield, Maryland, and a number of Illinois River decoy makers to follow, they divided the carving and painting roles. Robert applied his honed woodworking skills, while Catherine proved herself to be one of the finest decoy painters of all time.

Robert Elliston was born in Kentucky in 1849. In his late teens, he apprenticed as a carriage-maker at the Studebaker woodworking shop in South Bend, Indiana. He moved on to work for Henry Olds and later the McLaren Hearse and Coach Manufacturing Company. Working as a carriage-maker with shops in New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis, Elliston became a seasoned woodworker, a skill that would later serve him greatly.

It was while working in St. Louis that the young Elliston met Margaret Cumminski. The two enjoyed a brief courtship, were married, and moved to Lacon, Illinois. In Lacon, Robert worked for the Brereton Buggy Shop. A few short years later, tragedy hit; an influenza epidemic took the lives of Margaret and their newborn son.

Robert, shortly thereafter, began a relationship with Margaret's sister, Catherine. Robert and Catherine married, staying in Lacon briefly, before moving to the Undercliff Hotel on Lake Senachwine, near Putnam, Illinois. It is likely that while still living in Lacon, Catherine saw the decoys of Steven Lane (1843-1900) and the crisp paint applied to his decoys resonated with her. Situated in the heart of the Midwest Flyway, the Ellistons' legacy began to take shape.

Catherine applied sophisticated, yet graceful, paint patterns that are virtually unequalled by any of her contemporaries, with the exception of Edna Perdew. She developed her own techniques of scratch feathering that echo the finest grain-painted chests of Pennsylvania made during the mid-nineteenth century. Implementing a metal grain-comb to help suggest feathering and to give the decoys a more realistic look, her painting techniques were later copied by Millie Graves and other painters up and down the Illinois River and beyond.

It is no secret among collectors that Catherine Elliston and Edna Perdew (1882-1974) used hens to showcase their abilities. While most decoy painters shied away from the difficulties of painting a hen's plumage, these two women embraced the challenge, defining the paint of the region. Indeed, today the world records set for each of the painters' work stands at over $200,000, with both records set by their elaborately painted mallard hens.

At the turn of the twentieth century, as more and more gentleman and women arrived by train from Chicago to partake in the growing sport of duck hunting on Lake Senachwine, word about the decoys made by the talented Ellistons continued to spread. The "sports," as the local guides and carvers called them, began placing orders with the Ellistons for hunting rigs en masse. The orders quickly blossomed into a full-time business and soon the couple was shipping decoys to sporting goods stores and individuals around the country.

While discussing this decoy in the 2005 "Masterworks of the Illinois River," the authors state, "The case can be made that hen mallards are among the finest decoys that Elliston ever produced." Indeed, this exact decoy leads the richly illustrated chapter on the Ellistons. The form, paint, exhibition history, provenance, and condition place this carving at the apex of works from this region.
Outstanding original paint with light gunning wear.

Provenance: Masterworks of the Illinois River Collection

Literature: Stephen B. O'Brien Jr. and Julie Carlson, "Masterworks of the Illinois River," Boston, MA, 2005, p. 28, exact decoy illustrated.

Exhibited: Salisbury, Maryland, "The Illinois River Meets the Chesapeake," Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, September 2"November 13, 2005.
Condition
Please email condition report requests to colin@copleyart.com. Any condition statement given is a courtesy to customers, Copley will not be held responsible for any errors or omissions. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition.
Buyer's Premium
  • 23% up to $1,000,000.00
  • 18% above $1,000,000.00

The "Masterworks" Elliston Preening Mallard Decoy,

Estimate $100,000 - $150,000
Jul 09, 2021
See Sold Price
Starting Price $50,000
Shipping, Payment & Auction Policies
Ships from Hingham, MA, United States
Local Pick-Up Hingham, MA, United States
Copley Fine Art Auctions
Copley Fine Art AuctionsHingham, MA, United States
498 Followers
logo
www.liveauctioneers.com
item
0116: The "Masterworks" Elliston Preening Mallard Decoy,
Sold for $83,5007 Bids
Est. $100,000 - $150,000Starting Price $50,000
The Sporting Sale 2021 - Day 1
Jul 09, 2021 10:00 AM EDT
Buyer's Premium 23%
Lot 0116 Details
Description
...
The "Masterworks" Elliston Preening Mallard
Robert Elliston (1847-1925)
and Catherine Elliston (1858-1953)Bureau, IL, c. 1890 14 1/2 in. long

Widely regarded as the founders of the Illinois River commercial decoy carving tradition, the duo of Robert and Catherine Elliston set the standard against which all Illinois River decoys are measured. Like Lem and Steve Ward from Crisfield, Maryland, and a number of Illinois River decoy makers to follow, they divided the carving and painting roles. Robert applied his honed woodworking skills, while Catherine proved herself to be one of the finest decoy painters of all time.

Robert Elliston was born in Kentucky in 1849. In his late teens, he apprenticed as a carriage-maker at the Studebaker woodworking shop in South Bend, Indiana. He moved on to work for Henry Olds and later the McLaren Hearse and Coach Manufacturing Company. Working as a carriage-maker with shops in New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis, Elliston became a seasoned woodworker, a skill that would later serve him greatly.

It was while working in St. Louis that the young Elliston met Margaret Cumminski. The two enjoyed a brief courtship, were married, and moved to Lacon, Illinois. In Lacon, Robert worked for the Brereton Buggy Shop. A few short years later, tragedy hit; an influenza epidemic took the lives of Margaret and their newborn son.

Robert, shortly thereafter, began a relationship with Margaret's sister, Catherine. Robert and Catherine married, staying in Lacon briefly, before moving to the Undercliff Hotel on Lake Senachwine, near Putnam, Illinois. It is likely that while still living in Lacon, Catherine saw the decoys of Steven Lane (1843-1900) and the crisp paint applied to his decoys resonated with her. Situated in the heart of the Midwest Flyway, the Ellistons' legacy began to take shape.

Catherine applied sophisticated, yet graceful, paint patterns that are virtually unequalled by any of her contemporaries, with the exception of Edna Perdew. She developed her own techniques of scratch feathering that echo the finest grain-painted chests of Pennsylvania made during the mid-nineteenth century. Implementing a metal grain-comb to help suggest feathering and to give the decoys a more realistic look, her painting techniques were later copied by Millie Graves and other painters up and down the Illinois River and beyond.

It is no secret among collectors that Catherine Elliston and Edna Perdew (1882-1974) used hens to showcase their abilities. While most decoy painters shied away from the difficulties of painting a hen's plumage, these two women embraced the challenge, defining the paint of the region. Indeed, today the world records set for each of the painters' work stands at over $200,000, with both records set by their elaborately painted mallard hens.

At the turn of the twentieth century, as more and more gentleman and women arrived by train from Chicago to partake in the growing sport of duck hunting on Lake Senachwine, word about the decoys made by the talented Ellistons continued to spread. The "sports," as the local guides and carvers called them, began placing orders with the Ellistons for hunting rigs en masse. The orders quickly blossomed into a full-time business and soon the couple was shipping decoys to sporting goods stores and individuals around the country.

While discussing this decoy in the 2005 "Masterworks of the Illinois River," the authors state, "The case can be made that hen mallards are among the finest decoys that Elliston ever produced." Indeed, this exact decoy leads the richly illustrated chapter on the Ellistons. The form, paint, exhibition history, provenance, and condition place this carving at the apex of works from this region.
Outstanding original paint with light gunning wear.

Provenance: Masterworks of the Illinois River Collection

Literature: Stephen B. O'Brien Jr. and Julie Carlson, "Masterworks of the Illinois River," Boston, MA, 2005, p. 28, exact decoy illustrated.

Exhibited: Salisbury, Maryland, "The Illinois River Meets the Chesapeake," Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, September 2"November 13, 2005.
Condition
...
Please email condition report requests to colin@copleyart.com. Any condition statement given is a courtesy to customers, Copley will not be held responsible for any errors or omissions. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition.
Contacts
Copley Fine Art Auctions
617-536-0030
65 Sharp Street
Hingham, MA 02043
USA
LiveAuctioneers Supportinfo@liveauctioneers.com
iphoneandroidPhone

Get notifications from your favorite auctioneers.

TOP