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Birds in Wood and Paint
American Miniature Bird Carvings and Their Carvers, 1900-1970
Joseph H. Ellis

2009 • 204 pp. 281 illus. (265 color) 8 1/2 x 11"
Antiques & Collectibles / Decorative Arts & Material Culture / Birds & Birdwatching

$35.00 Hardcover, 978-1-58465-785-9

"This thoughtfully written and well illustrated book has definitely filled the void of books on miniatures."—Decoy Magazine

A comprehensive look at American miniature bird carvings and the artists who made them

Mankind has been preoccupied with artistic representations of birds for as long as humans have been able to paint. This fascination turned three-dimensional in the late nineteenth century when hunters constructed bird decoys to lure their live counterparts within shooting range. As decoy carving waned in the early 1900s, some of the most accomplished decoy carvers turned to the carving and painting of waterfowl and game birds in miniature sizes. These carvers were soon followed by others who carved and painted songbirds and other non-game birds of virtually every species, all geared toward a bird-loving audience. These works became known as “decorative” carvings.

Beginning with Elmer Crowell, the father of decorative bird carving, Ellis chronicles the fascinating lives and highly individualistic styles of twelve key carvers who dominated bird carving from 1900 through the 1970s. Also touching on the work of a number of less widely known artists, this lavishly illustrated volume is sure to delight the eye of collectors, carving aficionados, and bird-watchers alike.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

"Anyone who appreciates or collects miniature American bird carvings absolutely must have this book. It will also be a must-have for persons who value non-miniature birds and decoys since several of the carvers featured did not limit their production to miniatures. . . . The more than 270 color photographs that document the work of the carvers presented in this book are of outstanding quality and provide the reader with a virtual "museum tour" of an assembly of birds that one could never hope to find in a single place. This work is a most significant addition to the growing literature of our hobby."—Hunting and Fishing Collectible

"For collectors, there's nothing more seductive than a book on their own subject. Such a book is Joseph H. Ellis's Birds in Wood and Paint: American Miniature Bird Carvings and Their Carvers, 1900-1970, which fascinates even a non-collector like me with its incredibly detailed pictures and the homage it gives their creators. There's a wonderful history of the craft-into-art form and its stars, both the feathered and the footed, which is just enough fact and just enough enthusiast -- a tough line to walk -- to make it a pleasure to read." —Lincoln County News, Damariscotta, ME

"From carving and painting decoys for hunting to support "market gunning" until it was banned in 1918 to the creation of carved birds as art, Ellis explores the transition of the audience base from sportsmen and hunters to lovers of birds of all types. Ellis concentrates on the history and styles of carvings, and the carvers, in a period of highly distinctive work."—The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles

“This lovingly detailed new book by Joe Ellis finally brings a fascinating but little-known art form—miniature bird carving—the attention it deserves. With stories about the carvers, the history of the genre, and many photographs of the incredible carvings themselves, this book would be a welcome addition to any bird- or art-lover’s library.”—David Allen Sibley, author of The Sibley Guide to Birds

“Joseph Ellis’ life-long interest in birding evolved later in life to afocused interest in miniature bird carvings by America’s best “whittlers.” Through dedicated research the author has become one of America’s foremost experts on the subject and has provided the world of collectors with the very first book dedicated to these talented American carvers. Mr. Ellis has a well-honed eye for these remarkable works of art and has uncovered much new information about their iconoclastic carvers, making this book a most enjoyable read.”—Ted Harmon, Decoys Unlimited

JOSPEH H. ELLIS, a retired partner of Goldman Sachs, became hooked on miniature bird carvings in 1995 after his first encounter with an Elmer Crowell carving in an antique shop on Cape Cod. He is also author of Ahead of the Curve: A Commonsense Guide to Forecasting Business and Market Cycles. A recognized expert on miniature bird carvings and their carvers, Ellis lives in Cornwall, Connecticut and New York City.

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 14:00:05 -0500