Apr 15, 2021 - Sale 2564

Sale 2564 - Lot 314

Price Realized: $ 1,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
"THE SAVAGE INDIAN WITH HIS SCALPING KNIFE" (WAR OF 1812.) "L.G.," after William Charles. A Scene on the Frontiers as Practiced by the Humane British and their Worthy Allies! Hand-colored engraving, 10 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches; heavy toning, minor dampstaining, square-inch area of loss in soldier's boot from ink burn, several short modern tape repairs on verso. Np, circa 1813

Additional Details

A gruesome battlefield scene, with one Indian scalping a dead American soldier while another takes payment from a British officer with "Secret Service money" as a "reward for 16 scalps." In the background, two Indians and two red-coated British soldiers dance around a fire. The inspiration is thought to be the 15 August 1812 Battle of Fort Dearborn near Chicago, where British Colonel Henry Proctor was rumored to have paid for American scalps, resulting in the death of some soldiers and civilians who had surrendered. This is an early pirated reverse copy of a print by William Charles. Another pirated version has the same image unreversed.

"Arise Columbia's Sons and forward press / Your Country's wrongs, call loudly for redress / The savage Indian with his scalping knife / Or tomahawk may seek to take your life / By bravery aw'd they'll in a dreadfull fright / Shrink back for refuge to the woods in flight / Their British leaders then will quickly shake / And for those wrongs shall restitution make." Reilly 1812-2, 3 (the other two versions).