Pocahontas (Reproduction of 1616 Original)

Credit: Library of Congress
Media type: engraving
Museum Number: LC-D416-18753
Annotation: This image is taken from a painting made of the Native American woman popularly known as Pocahontas, from a painting by William Sheppard. The portrait is dated 1616, coinciding with her only voyage to England in June of that year. The image is one of two strikingly similar portraits made of Pocahontas (whose formal names were Matoaka and Amonute, though she was later baptized Rebecka Rolfe)made during her trip, the other being an engtraving made by Simon Van de Passe, also created in 1616. It is interesting to note that while the latter features the young woman in a realistic portrayal that made no attempts to conceal her characteristically Native American appearance, Shepard chose to portray Matoaka with distinctively European features. It has been speculated that this idealized portrait has contributed to the mythology that surrounds the story of her life and her relationship to Captain John Smith. The inscription below the portrait reads: “Matoaka, also Rebecka, daughter to the the mighty Prince Powhatan, Emperor of Werowocomoco at Virginia, converted and baptized to the Christian Faith and Wife to John Rolfe”.
Year: 1616