Auction 124, Lot 718

"Lap-Pa-Win-Soe. A Delaware Chief", McKenney and Hall

Subject: Native Americans

Period: 1837 (dated)

Publication: History of the Indian Tribes of North America

Color: Hand Color

9 x 13.5 inches
22.9 x 34.3 cm

A handsome portrait of the famous Delaware chief who made an agreement in 1737 with the Penn family for a parcel of land known as the Walking Purchase. This was an infamous land swindle, which eventually forced the Delaware Indians from their homelands. It was so named because the land was to be surveyed by means of a traditional Indian measurement of land that could be covered in a day-and-a-half's walk (thought by the Indians to be about 40 miles). The Penns had sent scouting parties to clear the route and hired three of the fastest runners in the region. The resulting 'walk' covered as much as twice the distance the Indians had anticipated. Then, instead of projecting the boundary due east from the place where the 'walk' had ended, Pennsylvania's surveyors drew the line at a right angle to the Upper Delaware River, near the New York border, giving the proprietors far more land than the Delaware chiefs originally had in mind.

Thomas McKenney & James Hall's portfolio of Indian portraits documents an important part of American History. Thomas McKenney, head of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs for many years, was a champion of the Native Americans and fought throughout his tenure to preserve their culture. His legacy was commissioning artists such as James Otto Lewis and Charles Bird King to paint many of the native leaders when they visited Washington. After he left government office, he produced lithographs of these paintings for this publication. These lithographs are the only visual record left of these great Native Americans, as the original paintings were destroyed by fire in 1865.


Condition: B+

A nice example with original hand color. There is some faint text offsetting and the margins have light mat burn. There are a couple minor tears in blank margins, well away from the image. Hinge remnants on verso.

Estimate: $300 - $400

Sold for: $220

Closed on 5/7/2008