A cheife Herowans wyfe of Pomeoc


A cheife Herowans wyfe of Pomeoc


An Indian mother, carrying a water gourd, and her child, carrying what appears to be an English doll, pose in this watercolor by John White, the English artist who in 1585 accompanied a failed colonizing expedition to Roanoke Island in present-day North Carolina. The mother's right hand is slung through a bead necklace made of copper, shells, pearls, or bone, likely a sign of her high status. The doll appears to be of a more expensive variety than what was commonly traded by the English colonists.

White's inscription reads, "A cheife Herowans wyfe of Pomeoc. / and her daughter of the age of .8. or. / 10. yeares."

Pomeiooc (as scholars now spell it) was a palisaded town in the Outer Banks whose weroance, or chief, was Piemacum. The English colonists, including probably White, visited the town in July 1585.


John White

Date Created

ca. 1585


The British Museum


Watercolor on graphite

Physical Dimension

10.375" x 5.875"


sixteenth century, North Carolina, Virginia