Pintail Drake Decoy
Carved by Charles Perdew and painted by Edna Perdew
ca. 1930s Gift of Joseph B. French.

Charles H. Perdew (1874-1963) of Henry, Illinois, was one of the most prolific and well-known decoy makers in the Midwest. As a teenager, he began making decoys for his own use as he shot ducks and geese for the Chicago restaurant market. His decoy carving was influenced by Robert Elliston and Henry Ruggles; however, his decoys have a distintive style that is natural and graceful. His wife Edna helped with the painting of most of his birds and contributed highly realistic, wet-on-wet color blending and skillful use of the graining comb. Although he made his living primarily from selling decoys, he also worked as a gunsmith and made hunting boats and intricately carved duck and crow calls. Perdew decoys are considered masterpieces of Illinois folk art.