SIMON, John (c.1675-1751)
Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row
London: Jno Bowles and Son, N.D. . Mezzotint by John Simon after the painting by John Verelst. Third statem first issue. Depicts the Mohawk leader "Hendrick" Tejonihokarawa as a diplomat carrying a Native American wampum belt. Full title reads: "Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row, Emperour of the Six Nations." Printed for Jno Bowles and Son at the Black Horse in Cornhill London. Sheet size: 14 1/4 x 10 9/16 inches.
A striking majestic mezzotint of Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row, member of the Mohawk council and one of ‘The Four Kings’
The present portrait depicts perhaps the most important of the four First Nations dignitaries known as 'The Four Kings' who travelled to London in 1710. In honor of their visit to the Court of St. James, Queen Anne commissioned Dutch artist John Verelst to paint their portraits, and the images were soon in circulation in the form of the present mezzotint by John Simon. 'The Four Kings' refers to four First Nations individuals who journeyed to London as part of a resourceful diplomatic strategy. In the aftermath of a military failure at Montréal, the colonists faced humiliation in the eyes of their First Nations allies and adversaries, though they remained hopeful that their plan could still be executed successfully the following year. For this plan to work, the colonists needed to regain credibility among their First Nations allies, particularly the Iroquois, who lived in a strategically important region between Britain's North American colonies and what was then 'New France.' Colonial official Peter Schuyler arranged an embassy of four First Nations individuals, three from the Haudenosaunee, also known as the Iroquois Confederation, and one Mahican man, to travel to London seeking support from the English crown against France and her Indigenous allies. Upon arrival at Kensington Palace, Schuyler presented the First Nations delegates as sovereigns who had come to represent continued alliance with Britain and to convince the Crown of the urgency of their situation and secure the necessary military assistance for a successful campaign. Despite how Schuyler presented the delegates, none of the First Nations individuals selected for the 1710 journey held royal or particularly elevated positions within their respective communities. Among the group, only Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row, also known as Hendrick after being baptized, held some authority as a member of the Mohawk council. The other individuals appear to have been young men who, having formed friendly relations with British traders and officials, agreed to participate in a calculated effort to gain support from the Crown for military resources against the French (Reese, 35).
Chaloner Smith, p.1095, no.84 (Indian Kings); Reese, Pictured to the Life 35; Muller, "From Palace to Longhouse Portraits of the Four Indian Kings in a Transatlantic Context," American Art, Vol. 22, No. 3 (Fall 2008), p. 26-49; Garrat, The Four Indian Kings E4a.