The Four Indian Kings

Bernard Lens the younger, (1682-1740)
Date: 1710
Engraver: Bernand Lens (the elder, 1659-1725)
Medium: Mezzotint on paper
Dimensions: 13 1/2 H x 9 7/8 W

Printed lower center margin: The Four Indian Kings; lower left margin: Done after the Original Limnings / Drawn from ye Life by B.Lens junr.; lower right margin: B. Lens; under each portrait, from left to right, top to bottom; Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row. / Emperour of the Six Nations.; Sa Ga Yean Qua Rah Tow / King of the Maquas; Oh Nee Yeath Tow Na Riow / King of Ganajoh-Hore.; E Tow Oh Kaom; King of the River Nation.

Credit: Bequest of Mrs. Henry M. Sage
Accession Number: 1972.65.7

A political and ceremonial visit of four Native Americans to England in 1710 is commemorated here. The "kings" (really elected sachems, or civil chiefs, of the Iroquois confederacy) sailed with three colonial leaders to convince the British that military support was needed if Britain wanted to secure colonial expansion. Native Americans were such novel curiosities in Europe that their likenesses were taken by Bernard Lens, Sr. and Jr. The younger Lens painted miniature portraits of the four, from life, on ivory. His father used the miniatures as models for his engraving, from which prints were produced. The many impressions made from the Lens's mezzotints kept the Native Americans' fame alive in Europe and after their return to America.