(1814 - 1899)
Samuel Augustus (Captain) Fabens was active/lived in Massachusetts. Samuel Fabens is known for Decoy carving.
Biography from Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC
Decoys from the rig of Captain Samuel Augustus
Faben's have been associated with not only the best decoys from the
North Shore of Massachusetts but are considered among the finely crafted
decoys from any region.
** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
Born into a nautical family, Fabens carried on
his family's ancestral tradition, commanding a number of renowned
tall-ships around the globe, including one of the finest of the day, the
clipper ship Challenge. This vessel's "faultless beauty, matchless
speed, and unquestionable strength" were described in a Boston Daily
Atlas article from June 16th, 1851.
The following is an excerpt form
that article: "…The Challenge, therefore, is the embodiment of her
builder's idea of the perfect in naval architecture, and his reputation
is thus practically pledged for her success… Her sheer is not sudden or
marked by any peculiarity, but is truly graduated along her whole
length, presenting an outline of perfect beauty. Her bow rises nobly,
and although its lines are concave below, yet as they ascend they become
gently modified, still preserving their angular form; and, on the rail,
blend in perfect harmony with her general outline."
It is therefore not
surprising that the man who commanded such a meticulous and elegant
vessel would have a rig of decoys that parallel The Challenge in design.
This merganser's construction shows the work of a confident and
accomplished craftsman. The hollowed body's lines are nearly faultless
and rise towards the front of the bird supporting the upturned head that
portrays the animated character of the species. The head sits atop a
raised neck seat and features ever-so-slight eye groove carving and full
cheeks that seamlessly transition to the gently upswept bill. The
entire length of the delicate bill shows deep incised mandible carving
with serrated detail (see p. 175). A thin wooden crest has been inlayed
into the top of the head.
In addition to superb form, this carving
exhibits several features that are rarely if ever seen in working
decoys. The body seam begins just above the slender paddle tail, and
rather than running parallel to the bottom, it ascends upwards to the
center of the breast. The flat bottom of the bird is fitted with a
rounded wooden keel which is particular to the region. The top of the
head shows a dowel that goes down through the neck for support. The
paint features subtle blending in addition to the crisp lines of the
wing patch and primaries. The high quality glass eyes are two-tone.
rarity of these unique sheldrakes cannot be overstated, only four Fabens
rig mergansers in original paint have ever surfaced. The only drake and
a matching hen reside in an important private collection, and the only
other hen is held in another private collection. To our knowledge, this
is the first time a Faben's rig merganser has ever come on the public
Share an image of the Artist firstname.lastname@example.org.