M1886 | SA GA YEATH QUA PIETH TOW, King of the Maquas.

 
The most recent version of the Flash plugin must be installed
Get Flash Player
Creative Commons License
Print
SA GA YEATH QUA PIETH TOW, King of the Maquas.
John Verelst
1710, 18th century
Ink on paper mounted on board - Mezzotint
35 x 25 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
M1886
© McCord Museum
Description
Keywords:  Print (10661)
Select Image (Your image selection is empty)

Visitors' comments

Add a comment

Description

Sa Ga Yeath Qua Pieth Tow was one of four Iroquois sachems, or leaders, who in 1710 visited the court of Queen Anne in London. Widely celebrated on their arrival, these men had made the trip to ask for missionaries and military assistance against the French. John Verelst painted four full-length oil portraits to commemorate this important event. During this visit, Sa Ga Yeath Qua Pieth Tow was baptized Brant. He was in fact the grandfather of the famous Iroquois leader Joseph Brant. Early images of Canadian aboriginal people are rare. The McCord Museum contains over 1,200 such depictions, dating from the 18th and early 19th centuries and recording peoples from across the country, including the Arctic.

Keys to History

ABORIGINAL DIPLOMATS ABROAD

Aboriginal people first travelled to Europe in the 16th century, kidnapped by explorers and put on display as proof of their visits to strange new lands. Eventually, Aboriginal chiefs voluntarily visited the courts of Europe, keen to explore new lands and strengthen their alliances. This remarkable portrait illustrates one of four such diplomats, who travelled to the London court of Queen Anne in 1710. Described as representatives of the "Five Nations Confederacy of North America", they came to ask for missionaries for religious instruction and to request military assistance.

This portrait of Brant, a Mohawk and member of the bear clan, is one of the best records of 18th-century Aboriginal tattooing in existence. The precise significance of the complex motifs that cover much of Brant's body remains obscure. However, his striking appearance was undoubtedly linked to his status as an accomplished warrior and leader. Brant died soon after his return from London. His grandson was the famous Mohawk leader Joseph Brant.

  • What

    This mezzotint depicts Brant, an Aboriginal diplomat who visited London in 1710. The illustration is based on an oil painting by a Dutch painter living in London, John Verelst (1648?-1734).

  • Where

    The original portraits were painted in a London studio. While in London, the four diplomats attended many meetings, but they were also entertained like royalty. Elegant dinners were held in their honour, they were taken round grand buildings and hospitals, and they went to the opera and a concert.

  • When

    This mezzotint was produced in 1710 to commemorate the visit to the court of Queen Anne of four representatives of the "Five Nations Confederacy of North America". The event created quite a stir.

  • Who

    Brant, a Mohawk and member of the bear clan, is depicted in this image. His striking appearance was undoubtedly linked to his status as an accomplished warrior and leader. In fact, his portrait is one of the best records of 18th-century Aboriginal tattooing in existence. Brant died soon after his return from London. His grandson was the famous Mohawk leader Joseph Brant (1742-1807).