The Real Pocahontas

This Sedgeford portrait of Pocahontas and her son, Thomas Rolfe, has been carefully preserved through the centuries, although its travels and whereabouts have been been shrouded in mystery. Presently at Kings Lynn Museum. It is believed the bereaved John Rolfe brought this portrait with him from England to his home here on the edge of the wilderness.
  The picture may have hung on the wall of one of Virginia’s stately Colonial mansions and been taken back to England at some time. When reaching adulthood, Thomas Rolfe came to Virginia and assumed his fathers lands and possessions. He may have shipped the painting back to England, possibly to the Heacham Hall estate, which had been in the Rolfe family hundreds of years before John was born.

It is known that the painting was sold at about the turn of the present century, the canvas was removed to Sedgeford, another Rolfe property. That the painting was carefully preserved proves, however, its value to the Rolfe ancestors.

The earrings worn by Pocahontas in the picture are in existence today and are the only personal belongings of Powhatan’s daughter known to have survived the long intervening centuries. They have been handed down carefully in the Rolfe family from father to son for generations and are owned now by Robert Girdlestone Meggy of Brooklyn, New York.


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