George Washington ordered the Dove of Peace from a Philadelphian named Joseph Raikstraw in 1787. It is made from copper with an iron frame and a cast lead headpiece. In a letter dated August 12, 1787 George Washington specifies that "the bill of the bird should be painted black ... and the olive branch in the mouth of it must be green."
While no record remains for the original body color, tradition and two paintings by Edward Savage in 1792 strongly suggest that it was covered in gold gilt. Unfortunately, because of the increased air pollution around the metro D.C. area, the original Dove of Peace had to be permanently removed in 1993. Today an exact replica rests in its place.