STERN BOARD EAGLE IN THE STYLE OF JOHN HALEY BELLAMY, WITH A CONTINUOUS OVAL BEAK AND GREAT PATINATION:
This beautiful stern board eagle is carved of wood and painted in the style attributable to Maine carver John Haley Bellamy (1836-1914). This example was probably not made by Bellamy, as its beak is notedly different, but it is one of the few examples that can be found where the quality of the carving matches his work and maybe even surpasses it. Many people copied Bellamy's 30-inch design, which was his "bread & butter" carving, but most of those who copied him had lesser ability. That wasn't the case here. The continuous beak is particularly beautiful on this example, being larger and more ovoid than others. Bellamy-type carvings can be found with continuous, rounded beaks, but this is the most beautiful of those I have seen. The depth of the sculpture around the neck and head is particularly notable, as are the lines of the carving in the feathers. Many eagles of this type, made and sold as decorative stern boards for American ships, are flatter with less attractive knife-work and paint. The surface of the paint and varnish is excellent here, with great patina and crazing. The result is a beautiful example of this size and type by every measure.
Condition: The condition is excellent, virtually untouched. The banner and shield were lightly cleaned to expose their strong pigment. The varnish had darkened with age, muddying the colors while at the same time hiding the text and it accompanying shadowed highlights.