Outstanding and early carved figurehead in the form of an American eagle, circa 1810. The eagle is larger than life and has very strong features. The head is beautifully articulated featuring a high brow with beautifully defined eyes and nostrils. The beak is beautifully formed and is in open position showing the tapered tongue which curves from the back of the mouth in the lower jaw and touches the tip of the inside of the upper beak. The neck is extended, the head is turned such that the eye of the eagle is centered on the front of the carving. When mounted on a ship, the back of the head would not be visible and as a result does not have the carved details exhibited in the front of the head. The neck, chest and upper legs have beautifully carved and incised feathers. The bottoms of the legs have no feathers and the talons which are clutching rocks at the base of the carving are very well detailed. The carved wings which are tucked in close to the eagle's body exhibit some carved feather detailing. The wings were probably restrainted to minimize damage to the carving at sea. The back of the eagle has typical maritime carved sea scrolls with a flat unfinished pine backboard. This American Federal period carving is the earliest example of an American carved eagle figurehead we have examined. (FA-665)
Condition: The eagle has an untouched surface which shows alot of exposure to the weather. The figure has a gray driftwood like surface with minor shrinkage cracks throughout. Having spent much of its lift outdoors, there is an old crackled surface of remaining paint and lichens. A section of the base on the left hand side is missing, effecting two of the talons. Loss and ware two the base of ship's figurehead is common and expected. The end of the lower part of the beak has been replaced. The figure is mounted on a contemporary metal base.
Dimensions: Height 40 3/4 inches; Width 16 inches; Depth 17 inches.