Frame: 10 ¼” x 7”; Sight: 8 ¼” x 5”
Pocahontas' Portrait: A Historical Account
This engraving was created in 1793 by William Richardson, after Simon de Passe. It is the sole surviving portrait of Pocahontas from her lifetime. During her stay in England from 1616 to 1617, the original print was produced. Pocahontas is depicted wearing the elegant attire of an English courtier, complete with a tall hat, lace collar, pearl earring, and ostrich feather fan. Her appearance reflects her presentation in London as an "Indian Princess". The print has served as the inspiration for numerous later depictions of Pocahontas as her fame grew.
Pocahontas was the daughter of Chief Powhatan, a leader of the coastal region of present-day Virginia. She is the most well-known Native American from the early stages of British colonial expansion in the New World. The arrival of English settlers in Virginia in 1607 resulted in armed conflict, as the Indians had formed a powerful confederacy under the leadership of Chief Powhatan. In May 1610, tobacco planter John Rolfe arrived in Virginia, and his development of a fine and profitable grade of tobacco helped revive the colony's economy. Attacks on the settlers were halted when Pocahontas was abducted in 1613.
After a year in captivity, Pocahontas converted to Christianity. She was baptized with the name Rebecca and married John Rolfe with her father's approval. Their union is widely considered to be the first inter-racial church wedding in US history. Hostilities between the Jamestown settlers and local Indians subsided in 1614 largely due to the couple's marriage. Their son Thomas was born in 1615, and the family sailed to England in 1616. Pocahontas was set to return to Virginia with her family in 1617, but she passed away from pneumonia in Gravesend before boarding the ship. She was laid to rest at St George's Church, Gravesend, England.
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