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Fine Stipple Engraving of Osage Men and Women Who Visited Europe in 1827

A rare line and stipple engraving of a six members of the Osage Nation, most likely done in Vienna, issued while the Osages were still on their remarkable whirlwind European tour, escorted by three Americans.

In 1827 six Osage people (four men and two women) traveled to Europe. Among the Osages were Big Soldier, Little Chief, Hawk Woman (or Grothomil, Gthe-Do'n-Wi'n), Young Solider, Black Bird (or Black Spirit, Washing-Sahba in Osage), and Sacred Sun (or Mohongo, Mi-Ho'n-Ga). While in Belgium Mohongo gave birth to twin girls, one of whom was adopted by a wealthy Belgian woman. The other daughter returned to the United States with her mother to be painted (sitting on her mother's lap) by Charles Bird King -- a beautiful portrait that appears in Thomas L. McKenney's famous book, The Indian Tribes of North America.

In France the Osages were declared "noble savages," and the present engraving certainly provides insight into European perceptions of Native Americans. The image depicts the four men and two young women during their European visit. The two women appear to be wearing European-inspired dresses, while the men proudly don native dress and accoutrements. The woman on the right rests her left hand upon her forehead in a beautiful gesture of ennui. During their stay in Europe the Osages went to the theatre, traveled in a hot-air balloon, and had an audience with the King of France. After extensive travel that including stops in Holland, Belgium, Germany, and Italy, European interest peetered out and the Osages were reduced to begging in the suburbs of Paris in order to fund their return trip.

This fine stipple engraving of Native Americans was originally issued in a now very rare work by Carl E. Rainold: Sammlung bildlicher Darstellungen bemerkenswerther Personen, Gegenstände und Begebenheiten der Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (Vienna, circa 1827). The title translates to: Collection of pictorial representations of remarkable persons, objects and events of the past and present.

While the source publication is attributed to Carl E. Rainold, the artist of the present engraving remains unidentified.


The view is very rare. We locate only two examples, one in the National Portrait Gallery and another example at Yale. Only a single copy of the Rainold book itself is reported in OCLC, that in the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

Condition Description
Stipple engraving. Clean and very good.
Carl E. Rainold Biography