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Gallery Detail: Covey Rise

Covey Rise Sketch
Preliminary Sketch

" The possibilities for this sculpture sprang into existence on a cold, dreary morning in deep broomsedge. My brother and I, just a few lazy feet apart, instantly and unannounced had quail up our legs. "

Completed when he was only 34 years old and over a period of 20 months, this sculpture of 13 quail is recognized as Grainger's most significant work. It can be seen at the Sanderling Inn in Duck, North Carolina.

Grainger's two other covey rise sculptures are the Nine Quail Rising (1992) and Hawk and Quail (2002).

A maquette of the Covey Rise sculpture in bronze is available here. You may also view a printable brochure of all the limited editions if you wish.

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Covey Rise Full Image
Covey Rise: 1981
Basswood, metal, and oil paint
Collection of Earl F. Slick

The following is an excerpt from a magazine article written after the sculpture was completed:

Walter Rosine, author of Bobwhite Quail, considered the bible on managing quail, visited with McKoy and advised him on aging the birds, and sexing them for the time of year. He gave him the right proportions - three adult birds and ten sub-adults - for a covey rise of thirteen birds.

There were some side benefits, too. McKoy recalls a rainy Saturday afternoon when he was working on the sculpture. "I was over here painting this bird and my son, who was about 11 at the time, was helping me make up the droppings for the roost. I said, 'Son, there are four billion people on this earth today, and I bet you are the only one other than quail who is making that stuff. ' He stopped, and his head started swelling a bit, and he said, 'Daddy, do you really think so ?' I said, 'I know you are the only one making that stuff. ' He made quail droppings all day long. I couldn't stop him, and I've still got plenty of it left over." So when McKoy finished the sculpture, he put his name there on a leaf. And, he added, "and son." "That's just as much his carving as anybody else's," said McKoy with a father's pride.

-Sporting Classics, September, 1983