Indian Sketches by John Trumbull

John Trumbull (1756-1843) sketched the five Creeks shown below in July 1790 in New York City. They were there as part of a delegation to negotiate a treaty with the United States. Trumbull noted that he had made the sketches "by stealth" since the men were uneasy about having their portraits painted. Perhaps because of this lack of a formal sitting, these sketches have an immediacy that many historical portraits lack.

For more on Trumbull, you can look at the Library of Congress American Memory site, "Today in History, June 6", or, for more detailed information, consult the following books: John Trumbull: The Hand and Spirit of a Painter, by Helen A. Cooper. (New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), John Trumbull, Patriot-Artist of the American Revolution, by Irma B. Jaffe (Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1975), and The Works of Colonel John Trumbull, Artist of the American Revolution, revised ed., by Theodore Sizer (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967.) Trumbull wrote an Autobiography which was originally published in 1841 and reprinted by Yale in 1953. Two of the Indian portraits are discussed in "Fordham University's Trumbull Drawings: Mistaken Identities in The Declaration of Independence and Other Discoveries," by Irma B. Jaffe, The American Art Journal, vol. 3, no. 1 (Spring 1971), p. 5-38. A rebuttal to this article is in Drawing by Stealth: John Trumbull and the Creek Indians, by Virginia Pounds Brown and Linda McNair Cohen ((Montgomery, Alabama: NewSouth Books, 2016). Trumbull's own papers and the research papers of Theodore Sizer on Trumbull are housed in Yales's Manuscripts Collection. (Use the "Find" function on your browser to locate materials on Trumbull in Yale's list.)

All the portraits were included in the original 1841 edition of the autobiography, but excluded from the reprint edition. They were also reproduced in The Indians of the Southeastern United States (1946) by John Swanton.

The portraits are:
Hysac, or The Woman's ManPortrait of Hysac aka The Woman's Man, 1790
Tuskatche Mico, or, The Birdtail King of the Cusitahs. Swanton gives this name as Fus-hatchee Miko of the Kasihta. Portrait of
 Tuskatche Mico, 1790
Hopothle Mico, or, The Talassee King of the Creeks. Portrait of
 Hopothle Mico, 1790
Stimafutchi, or "Good Humor" of the Coosades (Koasati). Portrait of Stimafutchi, 1790
John. (No further identification was given for this man.) Portrait of John,

Return to: Creek Bibliography: Section 6, Finding Pictures.

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