Our oil portrait of John Brant (1794-1832) has an unusual history in that it was painted for, and remained with, the Brant family until it was acquired by the ROM.
While it may not be possible to pin down the date or name of the artist(s) who copied the three portraits for the Brant family, we can speculate on why they were produced.
The Kerrs were descendants of Sir William Johnson and Molly Brant. Author William L.
In deference to John Brant's involvement in the Niagara campaigns in the War of 1812, Niagara Falls was added as a background in the published image.
Into this quilted turf Brant was born to Peter 'Tehowaghwengaraghkwin' and Margaret 'Owandah.' His mother was well-regarded as the matrilineal Iroquois tradition dictated.
Brant's father was said to be a warrior of note who died not long after Joseph was born.
Joseph Brant was in his mid-teens when he saw his first action about 120 miles north east of Canajoharie at the Battle of Lake George, a long thin lake at the base of the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York.
Johnson was Brant's future mentor and became a baronet as a result of the British victory.
Joseph Brant matured into a Native warrior over a succession of battles: with Johnson again at the Battle of Fort Niagara in 1757, and in 1760 with Sir Jeffery Amherst as he placed a siege on Montreal.
Following Niagara and Montreal, Brant had come to Johnson's attention as being agile in mind and body.
Brant had planned to go to New York City to continue his studies at the highly regarded King's College, but instead was called home by Johnson.
Brant's sister Molly by then had become Johnson's mistress living at his estate, Johnson Hall, and may have played a hand at bringing Brant home to New York from Connecticut.
Brant's dualistic nature couldn't help but emerge at this time.