Late 19th Century Hand-Carved and Hand-Painted Eagle with Shield

This is a vintage hand-carved and hand-painted wooden eagle. The carving was produced in the late 19th century and depicts an eagle with widely spread wings and an arched beak. The eagle clutches onto a painted red, white, and blue shield.

This eagle resembles those of famous folk artist John Bellamy. Bellamy became know in the 19th century for his iconic carved eagles, designed mostly for display on ships. His eagles featured widely spread wings, as if the eagle were in mid-flight, as well as a sharply curved head and angled beak. Oftentimes, the eagles would carry something in their clutches, such as a banner or shield.

The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States and a symbol of freedom. The eagle motif in décor and folk art has been widely used throughout U.S. history, most notably as part of the Great Seal. The founders of the United States often compared their new republic to 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. Eagle depictions in art have been common on tapestries, in carved furniture, in posters and prints, and as carved wall pieces for display on ships or houses.


Overall good condition. Paint on shield is still quite vibrant. Light surface abrasions and paint losses due to past use and display.

Dimensions: 10 1/2" H x 39 1/4" W x 3" D.

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