Main Pages

Front Page
Overview
Seal FAQs

Design Process
 1st Committee
 2nd Committee
 3rd Committee
 Final Design
 Description
 Explanation
 Description
 Explanation

Latin Mottoes
 E Pluribus Unum
 Annuit Coeptis
 Novus Ordo Seclorum

Symbols (front)
 Bald Eagle
   Eagle Rising
 Shield
 Olive Branch
 Arrows
 Stars
 Rays of Light
 Cloud

Symbols (back)
 Pyramid
 Eye
 MDCCLXXVI

Great Seals
 Official Dies
 First Engravings
 First Painting
 1792 Medal
 Indian Medals
 1882 Medal
 One-Dollar Bill

Myths
 Eagle Side
 Pyramid Side

Themes
 Unity
 Peace
 Liberty
 Thirteen

Related
 Wild Turkey
 President's Seal
 U.S. Constitution
 Sightings
 Resources

EAGLE RISING

Artwork by Cy Hundley

Artwork by Cy Hundley

A 21st-Century Realization of America's Original
Vision of Freedom, Peace, and Unity

This is the first time that a fully realized painting has been created from Charles Thomson's original 1782 description and sketch (right) of his design for "an American Eagle on the wing and rising."

Thomson's sketch, June 1782 Secretary of the Continental Congress for its entire 15 years, Thomson was chosen to come up with a suitable design for the Great Seal after three different committees since 1776 had failed to do so. He made this preliminary drawing of his design a few days before a slightly revised version (different shield pattern) was adopted as America's Great Seal on June 20, 1782.

No new artwork was created, so Thomson's sketch is our only direct graphic link to the Great Seal as originally envisioned.

This new artwork shows the shield's final design. It also has "Out of Many, One" – the English translation of E Pluribus Unum, the motto on the scroll in the eagle's beak.

The American eagle's stronger right talon clutches an olive branch which Thomson said symbolized "the power of peace." The Eagle carries a message of unity, E pluribus unum.

This artwork is an accurate realization of America's Great Seal, because it correctly shows the rays of light breaking through the clouds, as well as the constellation of stars in a natural formation.

Another eagle by Cy Hundley

During the spring of 2004, artist Cy Hundley consulted with John MacArthur to ensure the artwork conveyed the detail and spirit of Thomson's vision.

In October that year, a signed giclee print was given to Harriton House (Charles Thomson's home in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania) at the culmination of its 300th anniversary celebration when MacArthur gave a slideshow presentation about the Great Seal.

Harriton House
Visit Harriton House.

Harriton Sign

Historical content is based on the official history of the Great Seal.
GreatSeal.com is not affiliated with the U.S. Government.
Copyright ©2016 by John D. MacArthur.