The Old Print Shop

Joseph Tayadaneega called the Brant, the Great Captain of the Six Nations.


  • PUBLISHER: Pub. 10th Feby. 1779 by H. Humphrey. No. 18 New Bond Street. (London)

  • MEDIUM: Mezzotint,

    DATE: 1779.

  • EDITION SIZE: Plate size 19 3/4 x 13 7/8" (50 x 35.2 cm)

  • DESCRIPTION: Engraved from an Original Painting of G. Romney in the Collection of the Right Hon.ble, the Earl of Warwick by J. R. Smith.<br><br> Mezzotint portrait engraved by John Raphael Smith after the painting by George Romney.<br><br> This portrait of the Mohawk Chief, Captain Joseph Brant, or Thayendanegea (1743-1807) is based a portrait painted by Romney when Brant visited London in 1775 with Sir William Johnson, the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the province of New York where he was treated as a dignitary. Brant is shown here wearing a feathered headdress, armbands, a sash, a gorget, and other embellishments; he holds a tomahawk in his right hand. The original painting is now at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.<br><br> Joseph Brant (Mohawk name Thayendanegea), (1743-1807), was born along the Cuyahoga River in 1743. His parents were part of the Mohawk Tribe from New York but had traveled to the Ohio territory to hunt. His family returned to the Mohawk and Iroquois lands where Brant grew up; and where he became a polyglot, a war chief, and a diplomat. He was educated at Wheelocks school in Connecticut. This school was originally created for the education of Native Americans. Later the school moved to New Hampshire and was renamed Dartmouth College.<br><br> After completing his education, he worked with Sir William Johnson during the French and Indian War. After the war concluded, Brant stayed with Johnson and assisted in running the British “Indian Department.” During this time, he traveled throughout the Iroquois land, mainly as a missionary. Throughout his travels, Brant learned to speak at least three languages of the different Iroquois tribes and likely spoke all six tribal languages. These early missionary years established Brant as a trusted and respected leader of both natives and settlers.<br><br> In 1775, after the battles at Lexington and Concord, the Six Nations met to discuss their role in the War for independence. While many advocated for neutrality, almost prophetically, Brant predicted that independence for the colonists meant that the natives across the North American continent would lose their land. Brant’s argument, along with Johnson’s influence, succeeded in convincing four of the six nations to fight for the British cause, the Mohawks, Onondagas, Cayugas, and the Senecas. Throughout 1777 and 1778, Brant’s forces became exclusively involved in the Mohawk Valley. Brant’s army participated at the Battle of Oriskany, in attacks on Cobleskill, and in raids on German Flatts.<br><br> When the war for independence ended in 1783, the Treaty of Paris did not acknowledge the Six Tribes or any indigenous groups independence. The British had failed to accomplish the promise which prompted many native tribes to join their cause, the protection of indigenous land. The rest of his life was spent negotiating with American, French, Canadian, and British authorities in an attempt to establish a place for the Native Americans to live.<br><br> “Have pity on the poor Indians. If you have any influence with the great, endeavor to use it for their good.” Joseph Brant.<br><br>

  • ADDITIONAL INFO: A very good impression printed on laid, watermarked paper. Large margins.

  • CONDITION: Good condition. Several short tears, one in lower margin to the plate line, two in right margin. one just into image, 1/8".

  • REFERENCE: Smith, "British Messotinto Portraits" #162.

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