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McClees & Vannerson (active 1857-1860) (copy after John Hawley Clarke)
1852 (original) 1858 (copy)
Salted paper print
19 × 13.5 cm (7 1/2 × 5 5/16 in.) (image / sheet)
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object No: NPG.78.62
This portrait of Seminole Indian chief Billy Bowlegs (also known as Holata Micco) shows the American fascination with portraying American Indians. Bowlegs was one of the last, most resistant Seminole War leaders, fighting in both the Second and Third Seminole Wars. Hostilities concluded in 1842 but broke out again in 1855 when the U.S. Army moved into Bowlegs’s territory in Florida. He responded by waging guerrilla warfare. Subdued by 1858, he and his followers were removed west of Arkansas, where he became a prominent landowner. In moving west, Bowlegs passed through New Orleans, where John Hawley Clarke took the original version of this portrait. Clarke had established a studio in that city by 1856.