The warrior, the voyager, and the artist: three lives in an age of empire

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8 Citations (Scopus)


This engaging history of empire brings together the stories of Joshua Reynolds and two of his portraiture subjects—Ostenaco and Mai—and explores the intrusion of the British Empire into indigenous societies and the resilience of two peoples. Fullagar uncovers the life of Ostenaco, tracing his emergence as a Cherokee warrior, his engagement with colonists through war and peace, and his eventual rejection of imperial politics during the American Revolution. She delves into the story of Mai, exploring his youth in Ra‘iatea, his confrontation with war and displacement, his voyage to London on Cook’s imperial expedition, and his return home with a burning ambition to right past wrongs. Woven throughout is the story of Joshua Reynolds, growing up in Devon near a key port in England, becoming a portraitist of empire, rising to the top of Britain’s art world and yet maintaining an ambivalence about his nation’s expansionist trajectory.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew Haven ; London
PublisherYale University Press
Number of pages320
ISBN (Electronic)9780300243062
ISBN (Print)9780300243062
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • biography
  • Native American
  • British history
  • eighteenth century
  • Pacific history


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