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Caravan on the Platte

Alfred Jacob Miller1858-1860

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

"While the train pursued 'the even tenor of its way' we usually started out with the hunters in order to get sketches and observe the incidents connected with the chase. Antoine was our preference as he took more pains to carry out our wishes. His aim was so true and his knowledge of the animal's habits so perfect that he could would a Buffalo in such a manner as to make him stand still for a time. This would give us an opportunity to approach the fiery brute and make drawings,- sometimes A. would urge us to go closer, but on doing som th Buffalo would make a plunge toward us- 'his eye in a fierce phrenzy rolling'- throwing down pencil and paper, a retreat in doubly quick time would be made, at which our fidus Achates would laugh cosumedly." 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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