Four Indian Kings MS cover - Canada

Canada Post is issued this beautiful souvenir sheet to celebrate the 300th anniversary of four portraits that function as a record of early cultural and political diplomacy between the First Nations and the British Empire, and a negotiation that affected the course of power relations in North America. In the days before photography, the power of the painted portrait was supreme. It spoke to the connections between people and historical events, and to have one’s likeness preserved was a privilege most often reserved for the wealthy and powerful. Today, those portraits provide invaluable records of days long past—of the people and occasions deemed important to a culture.

In 1710, a delegation of “Four Kings”—three from the Five Nations Confederacy of the Iroquois and one from the Algonquin nation—travelled to London accompanied by colonial leaders, and had an audience with Queen Anne. The aboriginal representatives were being courted for their alliance in England’s war against France. Their visit created a sensation among Londoners, who wrote poems, ballads and songs about them. To commemorate their stay, the Queen commissioned court painter John Verelst to paint a portrait of each of her visitors. The paintings of the Four Indian Kings were held in the Royal Collection for more than a century before being acquired by the Government of Canada as national treasures in 1977.

The set of four stamps featuring Verelst’s paintings were designed by David Sacha and Karen Satok of the Toronto-based firm, Sputnik Design Partners. A close-up of Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row, Emperor of the Six Nations, is featured on all pieces of the issue. The London 2010 Festival of stamps logo overprint is present in only 50,000 of these souvenir sheets.

1 Response to "Four Indian Kings MS cover - Canada"

  1. Canada says:
    July 13, 2010 at 11:16 PM

    The Four Indian Kings are an interesting series of portraits, and it is good that they have been commemorated on stamps. There is more information on the Four Indian Kings at Canada’s Got Treasures, which is also a space where you can share your images/thoughts.

    Hamish,
    Canada's Got Treasures, a VMC initiative

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