Camp Fire, Preparing the Evening Meal

Alfred Jacob Miller1858-1860

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

"A Trapper is here preparing that most glorious of all mountain morsels, 'a hump rib' for supper. He is spitting it with a stick, the lower end of which is stuck in the ground near the fire inclined inwards. ... The guard for the watch of night is seated to the left. His duty expires at 12 o'clock when he is relieved by another, who continues the guard until 5 o'clock A.M., when the horses are unloosed to feed preparatory to starting. Breakfast is ready at sunrise, and when finished the tents are struck, luggage packed, horses caught up, and another day's journey commenced." A.J. Miller, extracted from "The West of Alfred Jacob Miller" (1837).

In July 1858 William T. Walters commissioned 200 watercolors at twelve dollars apiece from Baltimore born artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These paintings were each accompanied by a descriptive text, and were delivered in installments over the next twenty-one months and ultimately were bound in three albums. Transcriptions of field-sketches drawn during the 1837 expedition that Miller had undertaken to the annual fur-trader's rendezvous in the Green River Valley (in what is now western Wyoming), these watercolors are a unique record of the closing years of the western fur trade.

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