Jamestown: A Couple of Prominent Characters
John Smith was born in 1580 and died in 1631. The portrait of John Smith appeared on a 1616 map of New England. It came from an original engraving by Simon de Passe. The image was colorized by Jamestown Rediscovery senior staff archaeologist Jamie May.
POCAHONTAS, 1616, engraving by Simon van de Passe This engraving is the only known portrait of Pocahontas rendered from life. During her stay in England, Dutch engraver Simon van de Passe captured her likeness and recorded that she, like the artist himself, was 21 years old. It was the first of many depictions of Pocahontas intended to demonstrate that a Native American could adopt the demeanor of a "civilized" European. The Virginia Company—backers of the Jamestown settlement—likely commissioned the engraving with this in mind, hoping to attract more colonists and investors. The image also promotes the false impression that she was a princess in the European sense; the inscription describes her as the daughter of a mighty emperor, and the ostrich feather in her hand is a symbol of royalty. But this engraving offers a sound estimate of Pocahontas's true appearance.(All Pocahontas images are from Nova, www.pbs.org)
THE BAPTISM OF POCAHONTAS1836-40, John Gadsby Chapman, displayed in U.S. Capitol rotunda:
POCAHONTAS, 1994, Mary Ellen Howe After nearly four centuries of mythmaking, could Pocahontas's true appearance be resurrected? Virginia portrait artist Mary Ellen Howe hoped that it could, and she spent six years researching and producing what may be the most accurate portrait of Pocahontas that can be painted. Howe's starting point was de Passe's 1616 engraving, but unlike the painter of the copy made in the 1700s, she made certain that the colors of her work were appropriate: Pocahontas's beaver hat is white, her hair black, and her skin tone modeled after that of Pamunkey, Mattoponi, and Rappahannock Indians. As she studied the facial structures of modern Virginia Indians, Howe noticed the same overbite, dimpled chin, and high cheekbones that van de Passe saw in Pocahontas. Asked why she devoted herself to this endeavor, Howe explains that she could not forget a woman whose extraordinary accomplishments included the adoption of a foreign culture and the winning of acceptance by 17th-century English society.