The American bald eagle was adopted by the United States Congress for the national seal in 1782. It soon became the most popular of patriotic decorative motifs. This carved-and-gilded eagle, with its wings proudly spread, is posed on a rocklike base. One of the largest of its type, it may have been the work of a carver of ship figureheads; however, it does not appear to have been used as a ship’s ornament or placed on the outside of a building, as it shows no signs of weathering.
Artist: Benjamin Henry Latrobe (American (born England), Fulneck, Yorkshire 1764–1820 New Orleans, Louisiana)Date: ca. 1808Medium: Yellow poplar, oak, maple, white pine, gold leaf, and gessoAccession: 1994.189On view in:Gallery 731