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 Charles Reeves  (1872 - 1941)

About: Charles Reeves
 

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Lived/Active: Ontario / Canada      Known for: Decoy carving

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Important greenwing teal drake
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Charles Reeves (1872 – 1941) [1]

Reeves Family – Long Point, Ontario

Three generations of the Reeves family were employed as guides and decoy* carvers for the Long Point Company (1866 – 1960) a private duck hunting club on the North shore of Lake Erie. The acreage is now a Provincial park.

Phineas (1833 – 1892), a native of Bristol, England and the progenitor of the family was the first manager and guide for the club. He is well known for his classic hollow Canada geese decoys. Two of his sons, John (1860 – 1896) and Charles (1877 – 1941) carried on their father's work making decoys and acting as guides for club members. Jack (1904 – 1986), a son of Charles is probably the most prolific of the Reeves carvers. [2]

Most Reeves decoys are well carved, hollow bodied and artfully painted. The similarity in form and style among the Reeves carvers can make it difficult to determine which one made a particular decoy. Decoys made by Charles and another Reeves family member, Frank (1870 – 1938) were often covered in canvas in deference to club members who preferred that the birds not "shine" when wet. Decoys made by the Reeves remained with the club and accurate club records and stampings help to identify Reeves carved birds.
Source for above: The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury, MD.
 
Attached below is courtesy of The New York Times:
“Aside from guiding British royalty and such American millionaires as the Cabots and Morgans, the Reeveses became … ''godfathers of Canadian decoys.'' While not as subtle a painter as his father, Phineas, Charles Reeves carved rather stately birds that can often be identified by an extravagant curve on the bottom of the bill.”
Source: New York Times, July 30, 1989 “Decoys that Lure Collectors” by Katherine Ashenburg. 
 
Footnotes:

[1] The Ward Museum records 1877 as a birth year for Charles other sources such as Traditions in Wood: A History of Wildfowl Decoys in Canada” and “The Great Book of Wildfowl Decoys” record 1872.

[2] According to Traditions in Wood: A History of Wildfowl Decoys in Canada (see book references) Phineas (1833 – 1892) had four sons – Henry (life dates are not stated), John (1861 – 1896), Francis (1870 – 1938) and Charles (1872 – 1941). John, Francis and Charles were decoy carvers. All four sons worked, at one time or another, for the Long Point Company. Charles left the Long Point Co. to manage the Big Creek Club on Long Point Bay for some time; in 1904 he returned to the Long Point Company.

Additional sources:
Collecting Antique Bird Decoys and Duck Calls: An Identification and Price Guide (2003), by Carl Luckey and Russell E. Lewis (see AskART book references)

The Great Book of Wildfowl Decoys (2000), edited by Joe Engers (see AskART book references)

Decoys (1992), by Gene and Linda Kangas (see AskART book references)

Decoying: St Clair to the St Lawrence (1988), by Bernard W. Crandall (see AskART book references)

Traditions in Wood: A History of Wildfowl Decoys in Canada” (1987), edited by Patricia Fleming (see AskART book references)

Ontario Decoys II: Some Carvers and Regional styles (1986), by Bernie Gates (see AskART book references)

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com. Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx.

Submitted by M.D. Silverbrooke.
 


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