Delaware River Pintail
The miniature decoy pictured here is a drake Pintail copied from a working decoy by John Blair, Sr. (1842-1928) of Philadelphia, and later Elkton, Maryland. Blair was a carriage maker by trade and a master woodworker and painter. His finest decoys were hollow, dowelled construction with beautifully flowing lines, often somewhat elongated. His paint patterns were detailed, precise and exquisite. Blair had many disciples and imitators in the decoy world. These included his son, John Blair, Jr. as well as many “unknowns.” It is quite common to find decoys exhibiting Blair characteristics, but ultimately lacking the master’s touch. These are often called “Blair School” decoys.
Today an authentic John Blair, Sr. decoy in original paint will command several hundred thousand dollars. I spent a lot of time learning to replicate Blair’s painting style.