Tomo Chachi Mico
after William Verelst, 1741
VERELST, William, after. Tomo Chachi Mico. [Halle, 1741.]

Portrait of Tomochachi (c.1644-1739) and his nephew Toonahowi on their 1734 visit to London. Exiled from the Creek nation in the early eighteenth century for reasons unknown, Tomochachi settled with a band of Creek and Yamasee on the bluffs of the Savannah River in the late 1720s. Seeing additional trade opportunities with the arrival of James Oglethorpe in 1733, he allowed for the settlement of Savannah and allied himself with the colonists, becoming personally friendly with Oglethorpe. The following year, Tomochachi, with several members of his family, accompanied Oglethorpe to London for an audience with George II and an interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Tomochachi came set to negotiate an agenda to present to Georgia’s trustees, including a demand for a Western education for his people and assurances of justice for unfair practices committed by colonial traders. His successful negotiation meant additional Native allies for Georgia. See Julie Anne Sweet, “Bearing Feathers of the Eagle: Tomochichi’s Trip to England,” The Georgia Historical Quarterly, Vol. 86, No. 3 (Fall 2002), pp. 339-371.

Unlike Verelst’s previous portraits of visiting Native dignitaries, Tomochachi and his nephew are depicted wearing bearskins and in a forest setting. Toonahowi is holding a Native symbol of peace, a bald eagle. This particular German version of the English original from 1734 appeared as the frontispiece to the so-called Urlsperger tracts.

Copper engraving by Johann Jacob Kleinschmidt. 195 x 148mm image size on 255 x 190mm sheet. (Minor spotting; neatly inlaid; 4 mm strip on left edge, a portion of the imprint, and a few letters of the caption are supplied in expert facsimile.) Matted and in an early frame.

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