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Caravan Taking to Water

Alfred Jacob Miller1858-1860

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

"The Trappers are here being pursued by Indians, or as they style it- 'the varmits are on their tracts.' To baffle them and throw them out, they use all manners of stratagems,- kept so long that it becomes as tough as sole leather; and lastly entering streams or rivers and fording them up or down as the exigencies of the case may require,- for when they are transporting valuable packages of goods,- one of the most prominent being that they must lose either by victory or defeat." 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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