Sprague, Chris – Decoy Carver

Bufflehead drake duck decoy, carved and repainted, marked C.T.S. 1934

p4A ItemID D9818004
Chris Sprague Mallard drake duck decoy, hollow carved and repainted, stamped C.T.S 1910 and with C.S. under the bill

p4A ItemID D9817992
Plover decoys, pair of carved and painted plover decoys on wooden stands, both marked C.T.S. 1940

p4A ItemID D9817972
A Mallard drake duck decoy hollow carved and painted by Chris Sprague of Beach Haven, New Jersey

p4A ItemID D9673562

Chris Sprague (1887 – 1982) Decoy Carver

This collection of Chris Sprague decoys has been consigned by a single consignor (Alderfer Auction June 16, 2007). Chris Sprague was an old family friend and remained so for nearly 80 years.

In 1898 the English Family Cottage was built in Beach Haven, New Jersey. This Victorian Cottage was initially owned by our consignor’s grandmother and her three sisters.

Apparently Chris Sprague’s father (who was also a decoy carver) was the initial caretaker at the cottage during the 1890′s. According to family memory, the father died circa 1900 and Chris Sprague assumed the caretaker’s responsibilities at the cottage, working primarily as the painter and sash cord repairer.

As the years progressed Chris became quite close with the Simonin Family. During the summertime he became a regular Simonin Family weekly dinner guest, primarily because he loved our consignor’s grandmother’s cooking. He would often carve decoy heads while waiting for dinner to be served. Apparently he was also attracted to Mrs. Simonin’s rice pudding as well and he continued attending family summer dinners until the late 1970′s to the early 1980′s, just prior to his death.

Although a few decoys were purchased directly from Chris Sprague, the majority were received as Christmas gifts when Chris Sprague would visit the Simonin Family in Philadelphia over the Christmas or New Year’s Holiday.

The family remembers Chris Sprague carving decoys until just before his death in 1982.

Information courtesy of Alderfer’s Auction & Appraisal, June 2007

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