Ned Burgess (1868-1962) Duck, North Carolina
Ned Burgess, often considered the most prolific of the Currituck County decoy makers, supplied thousands of decoys, which he carved in an art deco style, to organized gun clubs along the east coast. Burgess, who was orphaned at age nine and blind in one eye by twelve, taught himself to hunt and fish during childhood in order to survive. As he grew into adulthood, his love for the outdoors remained with him as he built fishing boats and led others on duck hunting parties; however, commercial decoy carving was where his true passion lay. Burgess carved for over 90 years and for the bulk of his work (1925-45), he used an art deco style that, at the time, was as foreign in the world of decoy carving as it was to those living in isolated fishing villages along the North Carolina coast. It is unclear who influenced Burgess or where he learned his art deco style from, however, his intricately painted decoys are among the regions most recognizable and sought after carvings.