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 Thomas H. Gelston  (1851 - 1924)

About: Thomas H. Gelston


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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: Decoy carving

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Very rare rigmate pair of mergansers
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An important wildfowl decoy* carver, Thomas H. Gelston's decoys are on the "Top 50 Decoys Ever Sold at Auction" list and in the book "Decoys - North America's One Hundred Greatest" (see AskART book references). (1)
Attached below is courtesy of The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art:

Thomas H. Gelston (1851 - 1924) Oyster Bay, New York

Thomas Gelston was the descendent of a prominent Long Island family. Although he enjoyed the privileges of wealth, Gelston clearly favored hunting the marshes of the bays to making his way in the business world. It was there that he honed his talent for gunning and a life-long appreciation for the wildfowl which inhabited the area. Gelston carved decoys for his own use and those wealthy sportsmen who came out from New York City to the hunt clubs that dotted the bays of Long Island.
A carver of considerable talent, in later life, Gelston and his son, George sold decoys to Abercrombie and Fitch of New York. Gelston worked in both wood and cork. His snipe and duck decoys are carved with great care. Gelston's talent for shaping the heads of his birds was a distinguishing feature of his work.
For additional information:
Decoys: A North American Survey (1983), by Gene Kangas and Linda Kangas (see AskART book references)
Gunners Paradise: Wildfowling and Decoys on Long Island (1979), by Jane E. Townsend (see AskART book references)
The Art of the Decoy: American Bird Carvings (1965), by Adele Earnest (see AskART book references)
American Bird Decoys (1965), by William J. Mackey, Jr. (see AskART book references)
Wild Fowl Decoys (1934), by Joel Barber (see AskART book references)
Decoy Magazine, January/February 2002.
The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury, MD.
(1) Gelston's record auction result is $467,000.00, this currently ranks as the 10th highest in the world.

Source - Top 50 Decoys Ever Sold at Auction: Guyette, Schmidt & Deeter, St. Michaels, Maryland.
Submitted by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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