Shang Wheeler was a man of diverse interests and talents who served as a Connecticut state senator, managed the Connecticut Oyster Farms in Milford, and was an avid outdoorsman. His decoys drew upon older traditions established by Stratford carvers Albert Davids Laing and Benjamin Holmes, such as hollow two-piece bodies with prominent chests. Wheeler made both working decoys and show birds in wood and cork. Black ducks were among his most beautiful cork decoys, which often had wood heads in the graceful sleeping position.
Stacy C. Hollander, "Black Duck," in American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum (New York: Harry N. Abrams in association with American Folk Art Museum, 2001), 366.