Peter M. Pringle, Master Decoy Maker

Peter M. Pringle, Master Decoy Maker

William C. Reeve
Christopher Kindratsky
Peter M. Pringle
William C. Reeve
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Peter M. Pringle, Master Decoy Maker
    Book Description:

    An avid outdoorsman, Pringle began carving decoys in 1898 and in 1928 set himself the goal of producing the best rig of decoys in the world. Between 1929 and 1946, employing his skills as a commercial artist and going to great lengths to ensure the utmost accuracy, he fashioned approximately 120 of what many now consider to be among the finest examples of decoy art. But because he carved exclusively for his own use and made only a few for close friends, Pringle's birds remained largely unknown until recently.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7011-5
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. [Illustrations]
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Plates
    (pp. viii-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xv-xx)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    In the year 1985 I made my first acquaintance with Pringle decoys when i entered the home of my stepfather, the late Allan Collier Pringle, an advertising executive with a Toronto firm and a nephew of Peter Marshall Pringle. As I went through the various rooms of his Teddington Park residence, carved ducks, some twenty of them – on shelves, radiator covers, and tables – seemed to watch my every movement. One of them in particular, a bluebill drake strategically positioned on top of a bookcase in the guest bedroom, stared at me with a mixture of self-satisfied contentment and potential belligerence....

  8. 1 The Man
    (pp. 11-32)

    The branch of the Pringle family to which Peter Marshall Pringle belonged has traced its roots back as far as James Prindle/Pringle born about 1606 in Scotland.¹ His son William (1630-90) emigrated to New Haven, Connecticut, in 1654. According to family records, Pete’s great-great-grandmother, Sarah Dickens, served at the age of fifteen in George Washington’s army. However, the male line, refusing to renounce their allegiance to the British crown and joining the Loyalist forces, paid the price:Joel Prindle (1725-1800), his son Timothy Prindle (1751-93) and their families were forced to abandon their farms and seek refuge in Upper Canada as...

  9. 2 The Outdoorsman
    (pp. 33-48)

    On 1 September 1942 Pete wrote to Merle¹ describing his first experiences of duck hunting:

    The DATE of this letter takes me back to the “BLACK–POWDER–DAYS” before the advent of the gas engine, the motor-boat and the “car,” when the open season for duck began on Sept. 1stand ended on Dec. 15th.The REMINISCENCES I’m putting down were freshened by your information about the flood of March, 1913, which resulted in the many big changes in the “UPPER” Grand River, that is, all the way from the DAM to the old Plasterbed Flats at Gypsum Mines,² or even...

  10. 3 The Decoy Maker
    (pp. 49-142)

    It has been proposed that the ideal decoy combines utility and beauty, the former in recognition of the fact that a decoy is designed for a practical end, the luring of wildfowl, and therefore must be so constructed as to withstand the harsh treatment and conditions of the hunt through several seasons; the latter in that many carvers use the block as a means to make a uniquely individual expression of the aesthetic in texture, colour, and form. In fact, many art experts and collectors (especially in the United States, where museums exist dedicated to the decoy) now recognize decoys...

  11. 4 The Amateur Archaeologist and Cartographer
    (pp. 143-171)

    In the January 1937 issue ofAmerican Antiquity,a quarterly journal sponsored by the Society for American Archaeology, the following item appears under the section “Notes and News”: “In western Ontario, P.M. Pringle, of Toronto, persists in his meticulous survey of the prehistoric vestiges in the lower Grand River Valley. He is recording by means of map, notebook and photograph not only sites and burials, but individual surface finds as well. His results emphasize the importance of the Niagara Peninsula as a main route of travel between the Upper Great Lakes country and New York. (W.A.R.).”¹ The initials stand for...

  12. 5 A Final Word
    (pp. 172-174)

    In this examination of Peter Pringle, photographer, fisherman, commercial artist, archaeologist, cartographer, canoeist, hunter, and decoy maker, there emerges a common thread uniting all his endeavours, from his formative years until shortly before his death — his great fondness for the outdoors. Discovered amongst his personal effects, a little leather-bound book, only two by four inches, registers in calligraphic notation his bird sightings for the spring of 1897.When he learned of the birth of Merle’s first child, a boy, in July 1944, he wrote to his young collaborator:“I hope all your dreams and anticipations come true — teaching him to love ‘old...

  13. Appendix 1 THE BLACK-POWDER DAYS
    (pp. 176-179)
  14. Appendix 2 THE FINAL RIG (1929-1946)
    (pp. 180-182)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 183-192)
  16. Works Cited
    (pp. 193-194)
  17. Index
    (pp. 195-199)