Published: February 18, 2019
CHARLESTON, S.C. — On February 15–16, Copley Fine Art Auctions made its annual sojourn to the Southeastern Wildlife Expo (SEWE) with its Winter Sale, conducted at the Charleston Marriott. The sale offered decoy and sporting art enthusiasts the opportunity to see and take home paintings and bird carvings — and they did.
The auction was successful, selling 13 of the 14 cover lots and realizing $2.3 million. The top lot of the sale was the Ward Wigeon pair, which soared well above the $125/$175,000 estimate and sold for $228,000. Known for their pronounced crowns, paddle tails, detailed body paint, high heads and full cheeks, the pair showcased all the traits associated with the Bishops Head style. Of the numerous patterns designed by Lemuel T. (1896–1984) and Stephen W. (1895–1976) Ward, the ones associated with the Bishops Head Club models are among the most coveted. Each decoy is identified and signed in paint on the underside with “Male [and Female] Wigeon Ward’s Decoys, Crisfield, M.D.” The undersides also bear markings for the Kirson Collection and the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art. The pair was separated for years until the consignor reunited it in 2010. The drake alone was selected for the Decoys — North America’s One Hundred Greatest book. Now with its mate, this pair represents the only two Ward Bishops Head model wigeon carvings known.
The top painting lot of the sale was Percival Leonard Rosseau’s (1859–1937) setter painting, which sold for $54,000 on a $30/$50,000 estimate. Titled “Perfection,” this painting depicts two dogs, Ned and Bob, owned by industrialist and sportsman Samuel G. Allen.
Both the wigeon pair and the Rosseau painting went to phone bidders.
Watch for a full report on this sale in an upcoming issue.
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