Here are some of the best books available relating to Canadian Decoys. Many of the authors are members so you might get to meet them at the show !
Ontario Decoys Some Carvers and Regional Styles – Gates 1982 – Green cover (out of print and a collectors items itself)
Ontario Decoys II – Gates 1986
Waterfowl Decoys of Southwestern Ontario and the Men Who Made Them – Brisco 1986 (hard to find and a valued collector item)
Comprehensive reference book of the decoys of the region, well researched by the author from interviews with many of the men and those who knew them. 192 pgs
Decoying St. Clair to St. Lawrence – Crandall 1988
“Relates some of the author’s rather unusual expeditions and adventures that will offer to the reader entertainment and, hopefully, some new information on old-time carvers… Most of the photographs show the straight side view of the decoys, which is better than the other views. I have tried to show as great a cross-section of Michigan and Ontario decoys as possible.” – from dust jacket. 208 pgs.
Decoys of Maritime Canada Dale & Gary Guyette 1997
Decoys and their makers of the Canadian Maritime region can now be studied through the extensive research contained in this book. Few of the many fine decoy carvers from these areas have been identified before. Many of their works are among the finest decoys made in North America. 204 pgs.
Peter Pringle, Master Decoy Maker – William Reeve 2002
An avid outdoorsman, Pringle began carving decoys in 1898 and in 1928 set himself the goal of producing the best rig of decoys in the world. Between 1929 and 1946, employing his skills as a commercial artist and going to great lengths to ensure the utmost accuracy, he fashioned approximately 120 of what many now consider to be among the finest examples of decoy art. But because he carved exclusively for his own use and made only a few for close friends, Pringle’s birds remained largely unknown until recently. 224 pgs.
The County Decoys – Jim Stewart 2004
The waterfowl decoys of Prince Edward County, located along the north shore of Lake Ontario, are among the oldest, most unusual and finest carved decoys in North America. Many date back to the nineteenth century. They are prized across the continent and abroad for their splendid folk-art qualities, often selling for thousands of dollars. Despite their perennial popularity among collectors, little is known about these fascinating decoys and their long-deceased makers. After ten years of detective-like research, noted decoy authority Jim Stewart unravels many of the mysteries surrounding both the artifacts and their carvers. Lavishly illustrated with 250 color photographs and 75 archival black and white photographs. 196 pgs
Decoys of the Thousand Islands – Jim Stewart & Larry Lunman 1992
The definitive book on this great region’s famous decoys and carvers, covering 120 years of masterful carving, vital information about decoy identification, and insights into the carver’s techniques. 240 pgs.
David W. Nichol and the Decoys of the Rideau Canal Waterway 2009
Larry Lunman’s goal was to create a pictorial record of the exceptional decoys that have been made along Ontario’s historic Rideau Canal Waterway, and he has truly succeeded. This is a book filled with history and loaded with great pictures — a must for any collector of Canadian decoys.239 Pgs. Lunman
Sculpteurs d’appelants du Quebec
Francois St-Onge is the curator of the decoy collection exhibited at the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Museum. He is the author of a new comprehensive book covering Quebec carvers and their decoys, Sculpteurs d’appelants du Quebec, published in September 2008. The book has 320 pages plus more than 400 color images. The decoys of 135 Quebec carvers are shown. The text is in French, but even if you can?t quite read the language, the pictures speak for themselves!
This book is a study of the Nichol family and their decoys. Besides describing the lives, times, and achievements of the Nichol family, it also features other Smiths Falls makers influenced by the Nichols. (240 pp, illustrated in full color with more than 200 decoys represented)
The Rivermen: Echoes of Lake St. Francis
This is a neat and very readable book by Roy Lefefebvre and Norman Seymour, but it’s a bit difficult to get. The book was written for the Cornwall Historical Society and is available through them. Only one chapter (Ch. 18, Artists in Wood) concerns the carvers of Lake St. Francis, and it is fairly comprehensive. It may be helpful in the identification of some of those Ontario “unknown carver” decoys on your shelves.
Great Lakes Decoy Interpretations Gene and Linda Kangas 2012
Focuses on the many wonderful individually-made and commercially-produced decoys in Ontario to the north and New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois & Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota to the south. At the same time, the history of exclusive hunt clubs in those regions along with comparisons to other distant areas is presented within the book’s 336 pages. Those pages are filled with hundreds of color photographs of duck and fish decoys, folk sculpture and patent drawings presented in new and exciting ways.
SUBSCRIBE TO OR PURCHASE back issues of Decoy Magazine and Hunting & Fishing Collectibles Magazines – see Links found in Links Page (Joe Engers, publisher of Decoy Magazine, is always at our show with back issues)
Copies of Decoy Magazine’s predecessor, North American Decoys, published 1967 thru 1984 can often be found and many contain great articles about Canadian decoys.
Catalogues from recent auctions – see Links page for listings of these sources