John Hale Bellamy (American 1836-1914) Carved, gilded and painted pine Bellamy eagle, American, circa 1890. This eagle is one of the most popular forms and size within Bellamy's body of work. It features a spread wing eagle. The head and neck are carved from a separate piece of wood and applied to a base between the wings. The neck sweeps upward and the carved head has all of Bellamy's stylistic features. Applied to the eagle and running diagonally in front of the right wing is a carved flagpole. Below the finial of the pole is an attached carved and painted banner that has a reverse curve with a swallowtail end over the wings. The eagle retains all of its original gilt surface. The front of the banner has a carved five pointed star set into a blue ground. Below the neck and running along the bottom side of the left wing is a carved and painted American shield with a small carved five pointed star. The shield retains its red, white and blue paint decoration. The eye, tongue and interior of the eagle's mouth retain the original red polychrome. Near the top of the beak is a small red line decoration. The banner is beautifully painted with blue lettering and is embellished with red shadowing. The banner states: 'MERRY CHRISTMAS'. The borders of the banner also have red pinstripe. (FA-620)
Condition: The eagle is in untouched original condition. There are a few small losses to the wing tips. The gilded and painted surfaces have a wonderful patina. The back of the eagle has a natural wood finish and shows a lot of oxidization.
Reference 1: Craig, James A., 'American Eagle The Bold Art & Brash Life of John Haley Bellamy, ' Portsmouth Marine Society, No. 2014, 2014. p. 95. This eagle is illustrated in color and described on this page.
Reference 2: Antique & Fine Art, Autumn 2014, 'American Eagle New Discoveries Concerning the Bold Art of John Haley Bellamy,' pp. 144 - 151. This article discusses the life and work of John Haley Bellamy and features several of his more important works. This eagle is illustrated on page 149.
Reference 2: Smith, Yvonne Brault, 'John Haley Bellamy Carver of Eagles', Hampton, NH: Portsmouth Marine Society, 1982, pp.65-67. Several examples and some detail close-ups of similar eagles are illustrated on these pages.
Exhibition: An exhibition titled 'Bold and Brash: The Art of John Haley Bellamy' was presented during the spring, summer and fall of 2014 at the Portsmouth Historical Society. This major retrospective featured many of Bellamy's masterpieces as well as a general view of the range of work he produced. The eagle described above was included in the exhibition.
Dimensions: Length 25 1/2 inches; Height 9 inches.