This handsome paperweight is inspired by the eagle and shield motif found on the lid of George Washington’s marble sarcophagus. “On this is most delicately sculptured the American eagle standing upon a shield, beneath which is seen drapery representing the flag of the Union suspended crosswise from the top of the shield by an arrow…The fleecy fold of the banner, with the bright and polished stars upon it, are beautifully done, and are highly creditable to the skill of the artist. Underneath the shield, the word WASHINGTON is cut in sunken letters, so perfectly clean and neat as to give a feeling of entire chasteness to the whole” (Army and Navy Chronicle, edited by Benjamin Homans, 1837).
In 1837 John Struthers, an established Philadelphia mason, was commissioned to carve the marble sarcophagus for Washington at Mount Vernon. William Strickland, a native of Philadelphia and a noted engineer, engraver, and architect perhaps best known for his designs of such buildings as the United States Mint and the United States Bank, was responsible for the design of the sarcophagus.
The marble paperweight, including the decorative metal plate with pewter finish, is 3” x 3” x ¾”. The paperweight is presented in an elegant gift box.