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History, Native American Canada First Nation, Huron Chief, Henry Thielcke, Antique Print, London, 1841


Henry Daniel Thielcke (1788-1874) (after)
James Henry Lynch, Day & Haghe Lithographers (d. 1868) (lithographer)
The Presentation of a Newly Elected Chief of the Huron Tribe, Canada
Colnaghi & Puckle, London: 1841
Hand-colored lithograph
18.5 x 15.5 inches, image
22 x 18 inches, overall

A lithograph portrait of Robert Symes, a British settler and Quebec City judge, on the occasion of his being welcomed into the Wendat (Huron) tribe as honorary chief in the town of Lorette (now called Wendake), Quebec, in 1838. He is shown wearing Wendat ceremonial clothing of wool embroidered in moose hair. The portrait is based on an 1840 painting commissioned by Symes that is now in the collection of the Château Ramezay, Montreal. The lithograph was produced a year after the painting and proved popular at the time; other examples of this print are in the collections of Montreal’s McCord Museum and the Toronto Public Library (proof before title). The offered print is a fine example with rich extraordinary original color.

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At the ceremony Symes was given the title Chief Hotsawaiti. Historian Annette de Stecher explains that the leaders of the Wendat had a practice of integrating Europeans into their community with great fanfare as a way of fostering trade and diplomatic alliances:

Antoine Bastien, son of Grand Chief Maurice Sébastien Agniolen, described the election of Judge Symes as honorary chief: … [When they elected Monsieur Symes as honorary chief they made held a sagamité feast and a dance. Tahourenche said that he presented Symes with the most beautiful pair of snowshoes and moccasins that it was possible to make at that time. Symes was much liked by the tribe and he came often to Lorette].

A writer for the Quebec press described this same event, which was part of a three-day celebration in Lorette … He describes the atmosphere of celebration in Lorette, these “important events” having attracted “a large amount of the ‘beauty and fashion’ of Quebec who entered into the spirit of the different amusements that prevailed, with much glee.” He describes the dancing and music that was a theme of the celebrations, “distinctions of rank set aside,” while “the principle residences of chiefs and others becoming an ‘open house,’” the “fiddlers, fifes, and tambourines” that set everyone dancing, and the “picturesque nature of the scene” heightened by the large number of different uniforms together with “the dress of the Indians.”

Henry Thielcke was an English painter and engraver who spent roughly the last four decades of his life in Lower Canada and the United States. He primarily painted portrait miniatures, history paintings, and large portraits. His parents were servants to King George III and Queen Charlotte, Duchess of York. He studied at the Royal Academy and exhibited regularly there between 1805 and 1816 and at the British Institution during this same period. His painting style shows the influence of Sir Thomas Lawrence, with whom he is believed to have studied at the Royal Academy. Thielcke made portrait paintings and engravings of Charlotte, and held the title “Portrait Painter to HRH the Duchess of York” until her death in 1820. By 1832, he was living in Quebec City, where he worked as a portrait painter for about 12 or 13 years. Portraits he made during that period are in Canadian museums, notably The Earl of Gosford and The Presentation of a Newly Elected Chief of the Huron Tribe, Canada. The latter work, a group portrait, is his best known painting due to the subject matter, and was reproduced as a popular colored lithograph by Day & Haghe in 1841. By 1855, he had relocated to Chicago, and is known to have been living there after 1870. Canadian art historian and curator Ross Fox maintains that Thielcke introduced English School portrait painting to Canadian art, offering an alternative to the then-dominant French-influenced style.

Day & Haghe was the most prominent early Victorian lithographic printing firm. William Day (1797-1845) and Louis Haghe (1806-1895) opened their business in London in 1829, and the quality of their work was rewarded by their appointment as Lithographers to King William IV and then to his successor Queen Victoria. Haghe transferred the images to stone, and Day printed them. They produced maritime prints, hunting scenes, topographical views and genre subjects as well as notable illustrated books, including George Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio (1844). After Day’s death, the firm became known as Day & Son starting in 1852.

Colnaghi & Puckle was established in 1825 by Martin Colnaghi (c. 1792-1851) as Colnaghi and Company, a rival to P. and D. Colnaghi and Company, his father and brother’s publishing company. In 1840 he joined with Edward Puckle and the firm was renamed Colnaghi & Puckle. Colnaghi was bankrupt by 1843 and Puckle took over the firm in 1845.

Full publication information: H.D. Thielcke pinx’t Historical Portrait Painter to H.R.H. the late Duchess of York. On Stone by H. Lynch, Day & Haghe Lith’rs to the Queen. Published for the Proprietor by Mess’rs Colnaghi & Puckle, Cockspur St. 1st of July 1841. Dedicated by special permission to Her Majesty Adelaide, the Queen Dowager by Her very grateful humble servant H. D. Theilcke.

Condition:  Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, handling, wear. Exceptional superior original color.


Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 5, p. 671.

“Colnaghi and Company.” Science Museum Group. (13 March 2020).

de Stecher, Annette. “Of Chiefs and Kings: Wendat and British diplomatic traditions, 1838 to 1842.” Érudit Consortium. 2020. (13 March 2020).

Fox, Ross. “Henry D. Thielcke: A recently Found Portrait and some Reflections on Thielcke’s Links with the English School.” Annual Bulletin 8, 1984-1985. (13 March 2020).

“M20009: The Presentation of a Newly-Elected Chief of the Huron Tribe, Canada.” McCord Museum. (13 March 2020).

Peters, Greg and Connie. “Day & Hague.” Art of the Print. (28 May 2003).

“Presentation of a Newly-Elected Chief of the Huron Tribe, Canada, 1839 (Loretteville, Quebec).” Toronto Public Library. (13 March 2020).

Additional information


19th Century