21 Aug 2006

Joseph W. Lincoln, Decoy Maker

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Joseph Whiting Lincoln (1859-1938), of Accord, Massachusetts, sanding a decoy in front of his workshop, 1926
(Leslie R. Jones photo)

Wildfowl decoys hand-carved by self-taught craftsmen working in the classic American waterfowl shooting regions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries have been recognized as a highly evocative and peculiarly American form of folk art. Decoys have been avidly studied and collected within the sporting community for decades, and examples from the most renowned makers bring high prices at auction.

The work of few makers is more admired than that of Joseph W. Lincoln of Accord, Massachusetts. Joe Lincoln’s birds combine a certain abstract monumentality with an effectively lifelike impressionism. They worked particularly well in their day, because their maker took deliberate care to produce well-fed and contented looking birds.

One can never see enough Joe Lincoln decoys, and I recently discovered that a privately-printed, limited edition (1000 copies) book on Lincoln appeared in 2002.

Copies are still available at the original price of $98 from the author (I paid more on Ebay for mine):

Cap Vinal
c/o New England Tackle
41 Sharp Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Mr. Vinal can be contacted via email at Capvinal@verizon.net.

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