Thomas L. McKenney served as the superintendent of Indian affairs for the United States from 1816-1830. In the process, he collected a gallery of nearly 150 portraits of famous Indian leaders, most of whom were painted from life by Charles Bird King and other well known artists of the day. After losing his job during the Jackson administration, McKenney surreptitiously "borrowed" his old paintings from his former government office
and commissioned lithographs of the originals for his three-volume History of the Indian Tribes of North
America. The first volume of the History appeared in 1836. The complete set was republished in various editions through the 1870s.
Osceola appeared in the 1838 edition. After studying the circumstances carefully, Wickman concludes that unlike other images in the McKenney-Hall series, the Osceola lithograph was not based on an original painting or sketch. Rather, McKenney appears to have deliberatly engaged an anonymous artist or lithographer, who cobbled the illustration together from various sources, principally Catlin and Curtis, making just enough alterations to avoid charges of copyright infringement. The Plains-style teepees in the background are a tip-off that the artist was not familiar with life in Florida.
(1 of 9 images in this series)