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Describing a mesotint by James McCardell after the painting of Cunne Shote by Francis Parsons in 1762
From:DONALD A. HELD, Rare Books Prints and Maps (Fair Use)
- Cunne Shote (or Cumnacatogue, Stalking Turkey or Standing Turkey) was one of the three Cherokee chiefs who traveled to London in 1762. The Cherokees were escorted by Henry Timberlake and Thomas Sumter on a state visit to meet the new English King, George III, who was crowned in 1760. The present portrait represents the dress worn by Cunne Shote, a chief of the Overhills Cherokee, when he was presented to King George III. He is shown wearing the breastplate and medallions presented to him by the king, the white shirt and blanket are probably trade-goods, and he wears a Cherokee armband, bracelet, beads and choker. Although the Chiefs had been schooled in court etiquette by Timberlake, upon first meeting George III they chose to greet him the Cherokee way by warmly embracing the startled king. Ultimately the embassy was not a success, as the British government chose to officially ignore the delegation. Although they made a great impression on everyone they met, they eventually returned home without achieving any of the concessions on land issues that they had come for. The original oil by Francis Parsons ... is now in the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
- The portrait is interesting for several reasons. As a portrait of a Native American, it is remarkably superior to later works in which the subjects have been Europeanized. Cunne Shote's serenity, his direct and steady eye and the ready knife in his right hand, all tell of a nature quite alien to European notions. Of printed portraits of the American Indians few succeeded in conveying the dignified presence that so impressed writers on the Continent. This extremely rare portrait is considered one of the most important prints of a Native American to be produced during the colonial period. It is one of the true collector's items and is rarely seen on the market.