Photographs (left to right): Corn Snake, California; Tropical Plant, Ontario Niagara Falls Botanical Gardens; Mouse Tank, Valley of Fire SP; Nevada

Wampum Belt Archive


Caldwell Belt


Reproduction Wampum Belts

Original Size:
Length estimated in painting: Width: 14 beads? Rows: ?
Beaded length: 71 inches. Width: 6.5 inches. Length w/ fringe: 98.0 inches
Rows: 382 by 14 beads wide. Total beads: 5,348.
Warp: leather. Weave: artificial sinew.


The painting on the right is believed to have been done by an artist whose identity is unknown. The individual is believed to be that of Sir John Caldwell, nephew of Lieutenant Colonel John Caldwell, commander of the British Fort Niagara (1774-1776) near Detroit, Michigan (Stevens, P. L.). Lt. Colonel Caldwell’s nephew was attached to the Castle Caldwell’s 5th Baronet based in Fermanagh County, Ireland . Stevens contends that the painting could not be that of Lt. Colonel Caldwell because he died in the severe winter of 1776 at the fort. But when his nephew returned to England he posed in the clothing and Native American gifts he had received from his uncle. The wampum belt Caldwell is holding is a war belt, but its provenance is unknown.

The belt detail is very good that individual beads can be counted. If the painting is an accurate depiction of the belt and design, it suggests that the belt was about 282 rows long and 14 beads wide. Based on Caldwell height (6.0 feet) the belt would be approximately 68 inches. The replica belt having the same number of rows has a beaded length of 73.4 inches. The difference in length is due to the size difference in the original wampum used and the modern replicas. Reproduction belt on the left was made by the author and held by the same.


Tobin, Beth Fowkes. 1999. Picturing Imperial Power: Colonial Subjects in Eighteenth Century British Paintings. 304pp.