SMITH RESCUED BY
Christian Inger (after Edward Corbould)
While some 19th-century images of Pocahontas highlighted her marriage to John Rolfe, countless others focused instead on her feelings toward John Smith. Most historians doubt that a full-fledged romance ever existed between Pocahontas and Smith, but this notion was widely spread in the early 19th century, sparked by writer John Davis, who transformed Pocahontas into the heroine of an elaborate romantic narrative. This 1870 lithograph shows a Pocahontas typical of such representations—Europeanized and overly nubile for an adolescent girl. It also bears inaccuracies common in late 19th-century artwork, when headdresses, horses, and tepees (the latter not seen in this detail), which are trappings of Western Plains cultures, became generic icons for all "Indians."