Henry Inman (American, 1801–1846)
Oil on canvas
30 3/16 x 25 1/8 inches
Currently not on view
As head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Thomas L. McKinney pursued the ambitious project of recording and publishing portraits of the more than 150 Indian chiefs who had visited Washington to negotiate peace settlements. The original portraits, painted by the artist Charles Bird King, remained at the Bureau. McKinney hired accomplished portraitist Henry Inman to make exact copies of the originals—a fortuitous effort. Not only were Inman’s excellent copies used to illustrate McKinney’s three volume publication History of the Indian Tribes of North America, they are also the only versions that remain; in 1865 nearly all of King’s originals burned in a fire in Washington.