The Dove of Peace

February 11, 2007 at 8:17 pm (architecture, art, Virginia)

A Photo from Neddy

Flying High o’er the Home of the Great American Warrior, General George Washington, Mount Vernon, Virginia

As a young career soldier, George Washington claimed that he “loved the sound of whistling bullets.” Thirty years and many battles later, the same George Washington placed a dove of peace symbol on his home’s cupola.

The original Dove of Peace weathervane was made by Philadelphian Joseph Rakestraw in the summer of 1787, soon after George Washington ordered it, and was immediately sent to Mount Vernon. The actual vane was in the shape of a dove of peace, its copper body framed or bound with iron strips. In the beak of the dove was an olive branch fashioned from a sheet of iron. The bird measured forty inches long with a wing span of thirty-five inches. Washington wrote to his nephew George Augustine Washington, 12 August 1787, that “The bill of the bird is to be black and olive branch in the mouth of it is to be green.

Mount Vernon later stopped maintaining Washington’s color scheme, covering the body of the bird with gold leaf to deter further corrosion to its original copper and iron construction. Today, the original Dove of Peace is displayed in Mount Vernon’s new museum, while a replica has been installed upon the mansion’s cupola.

From whence came this “Dove of Peace” carrying an olive branch?

Visit Neddy’s Choice, for Neddy’s shopping recommendations.

The image, The Dove of Peace, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Neddy’s flickr.

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1 Comment

  1. bookbabie said,

    Hi Netty, stumbled across your blog while tag surfing. Lovely pictures! I have a new camera and haven’t been using it, too busy learning to blog! You’re collection has inspired me to dust it off and start using my flikr account more:-)

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