Lark Decoy, British or French

Artist unkown

about 1800

Wood and mirrors

Height: 31.5 cm

Used as a hunting aid for luring larks, this decoy – made from bits of broken mirror – would have been pushed into the ground, much like a potato dibber. The string at the back was wound round the upright, and when pulled would have made the crosspiece spin.  The small mirrors would have shone in the light and attracted larks.

There are various historical references to larks being used in cooking with recipes such as steak, lark and oyster pie. In Ruth Scurr’s recent biography of John Aubrey there is an interesting account of a meal which included larks:

Anno 1643. February. Tonight I watched the King dine in Christ Church… The meal was of mutton and veal (boiled and roasted), capons, hens (with eggs), partridges, pheasants, cocks, larks, beef, mallards, pig, salmon, sea flounder, venison, conies and teales with baked tart and Pippins to follow.