Vintage DUX' DEKES DECOY, Herring Gull, Signed by Jeff Duxbury
- Vintage item
DUX' DEKES was founded in 1987 by an ardent conservationist named Jeff Duxbury, who started carving as a hobby in the late 1970's. From his small workshop located in the town of Greenwich in upstate New York, he sells unpainted decoys made from solid local pine and dried in his own kiln. Duxbury also currently sells a few dozen finished decoys on their website. Jeff has supplied decoys to the National Audubon Society and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. DUX' DEKES have been featured in magazine ads for Tommy Hilfiger and Orvis. They also have been in TV shows such as "NCIS and "Halt and Catch Fire." The word "dekes" is a nickname for "decoys" and DUX comes, of course, from Duxbury (but is also a sort of shorthand for "ducks.")
This handsome decoy is a herring gull, the typical gull seagull we see in the US. Part of its Latin name means "decorated with silver" and it's favorite food is the herring. The carving is 17 inches long from the tip of the long beak to the end of its tail feathers, which makes it 3/4 of the length of an average female gull. The plumage on both sexes of herring gulls is identical, but the females are a bit smaller (22 to 24 inches) than the males (24 to 26 inches). This is a full-grown gull, since it has a red dot on either side of its lower bill, which signifies a bird about 4+ years old. It's 7 inches tall to the top of the head, about 5 inches across the breast and weighs 2 pounds 3 ounces.
Not only is this decoy expertly carved, it's also beautifully painted. The body is painted a creamy white that allows the wood grain to show, adding a natural look. The silver grey wings contrast nicely with the black tailfeathers and bright yellow/orange beak and yellow glass inset eyes. On the unpainted bottom, the "DUX' DEKES" logo is burned into the wood, with the initials "HV" next to it, possibly the initials of the painter. Above that in ink is hand written "Herring Gull" and "6/99." Lastly, Jeff's signature "JW Duxley," also handwritten in ink.
Gull decoys are uncommon; this one is in excellent condition. It's a prize for collectors and for those who want to own a very special decoy.