Presented is a spread wing eagle, most likely from the late 19th to early 20th century. This carved pine example depicts an eagle poised for takeoff and rendered with fierce facial details and well carved plumage. The carved eagle shows intricate detail, including individual feathers. The eagle is accented with white and yellow paint to highlight the head and beak.
This eagle stands on its own, as it sits atop its talons with its tail resting on the ground for support. The wings are spread widely, in a manner similar to Bellamy eagles, and shares characteristics with a Bellamy eagle including the domed beak and deep wings. However, this eagle diverges from the Bellamy eagle style, as it is three dimensional and stands on its own. This eagle may have been used as a "pilot house eagle" and would have been mounted on a pilot house.
The eagle is both the national bird and the national animal of the United States. The eagle motif has been widely used throughout American history, most notably as part of our Great Seal. The founders of the United States were fond of comparing their new republic with the Roman Republic, in which eagle imagery, usually the golden eagle, was prominent. On June 20, 1782, the Continental Congress adopted the design for the Great Seal of the United States depicting a bald eagle grasping 13 arrows and an olive branch with its talons. Since then, the eagle motif has appeared in allegorical engravings, patriotic banners and posters, and in beautiful wooden carvings and sculptures. This carved eagle was obtained from a North American auction.
Eagle is in very good condition considering age. The carving details are well preserved, but with a dried, weathered surface retaining remnants of old paint on its body. Some scuffs and chip marks visible, but overall very good condition.