George Boyd was born in 1873 and lived his whole life in Seabrook, New Hampshire. After grammar school Boyd worked in the Seabrook Salt Marshes until he married Alice Fowler in his early 20s. He went to work then in one of the local shoe factories as a foreman. He later set up a shop at the back of his house where he worked on his shoemaking homework as well as carving decoys.
Boyd made both solid and canvas-covered decoys and he mostly focused on Black Ducks and Canada Geese. Boyd’s wood of choice was Elder wood that came mostly from old telephone poles. When he painted his decoys he was a perfectionist, following a very strict ritual to where he would sand the decoy, prime it, sand it again and then finally paint.
Boyd retired from the shoemaking business in the early 1930’s and made decoy carving his full time employment. His specialty was carving miniature wildfowl and most of the miniatures stood on two feet like natural birds. It is estimated that he carved over 700 miniatures from the time he retired to the time of his death in 1941. He sold them for half a dollar each.
In the early days of Decoy collecting (the 1960s-1970s) Boyd was rather anonymous. His works came to auctions labeled “unknown carver.” In the late 1970s the late collector Winthrop L. Carter of Portsmouth, New Hampshire put a monogram on the bottom of Boyd’s works and produced a boy decoy show in the art galleries of the University of New Hampshire in 1979. This lead Boyd to his current fame as a exceptionally talented decoy carver.