A bronze eagle poised for flight.

Although the wings are missing, they should be raised and spread. Curve of the underside of feet suggests that the claws once clasped the surface of a globe. The bird was most likely fixed to an orb in the hand of a statue. Described as the 'most superbly naturalistic rendering of any bird or beast as yet yielded by Roman Britain', it was originally excavated in 1866 by Reverend JG Joyce at the Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum near Silchester, Reading, an important centre since the late Iron Age and regional capital after the Roman invasion. The extensive collection of artefacts from the site had been on loan to the Reading Museum from the Dukes of Wellington since 1891 and was purchased from the executors of the 7th Duke.


Duke of Wellington

Reading Museum

Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 1QH
0118 937 3400

Opening times

Tue – Sat, 10am – 4pm
Closed between Christmas and New Year

Back to top