This is a beautifully matched pair of patriotic American eagle teacups and saucers from the 1840s. They are made of bone china with a thick cobalt blue top border design with gold stars, gold outer pinstripes, and a gold top rim edge. They feature a central patriotic American eagle with a red and white shield, clutching an olive branch and a bundle of arrows in its talons. Fourteen tiny gold stars are positioned above the eagle's head.
The eagle is both the national bird and the national animal of the United States. 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 in its sinister (left) talon and an olive branch with its dexter (right) talons. Those arrows are tightly aligned, a symbol of "strength in unity" that's found in the traditional cultures everywhere, from the Romans to the Iroquois. In this case, the bundle of arrows were a nod to the unity of the original 13 colonies. The olive branches emphasize the power of peace.
The eagle motif has since appeared in allegorical engravings, patriotic banners and posters, patriotic home-goods and interior decor, and in beautiful wooden carvings and bronze sculptures.
This is a unique and collectible set of teacups and saucers, typical of the style found in the late Regency and early Victorian era.
Each cup measures 2.5" tall and 3.5" in diameter, saucers are 5.5" in diameter. No makers marks. This set is in very good condition with only minor wear to the gold.