Figure of an Eagle

Date: 1800–1830

Geography: Probably made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Pine

Dimensions: 69 x 91 1/4 x 14 in., 185lb. (175.3 x 231.8 x 35.6 cm, 83.9kg)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Bequest of Ella Morris de Peyster, by exchange, 1959

Accession Number: 59.89


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.