This is the fifth and final version of a scene Miller first painted about 1837. Like the later Walters watercolor and its preliminary sketches, this composition is oriented horizontally, with Stewart seated on the left. Typical of Miller’s late style, the figures are crisply drawn, each characterized by distinctive poses and gestures. Miller also includes finer details than in the earlier Stewart watercolor. Beadwork and individual strands of fringe are discernible on the costumes of the foreground figures, and he includes other specifics such as the saddle and equipment at the lower right and the slices of meat on the tin plates arranged before one of the diners. In this image, Miller has reduced the number of Indian figures outside the circle to three, but his accompanying note repeats his description of Indians awaiting the “second table.”
Although the Walters and Brown images are very close in composition, and their notes cover the same content, there is an ironic humor in the Walters note that is not present in the Brown. In the Walters note, Miller described Jean, who is seen pouring coffee as looking “to our hungry eyes more graceful than Hebe disposing Nectar, although he is more shapeless than a log of wood,” but he is simply “Francois pouring out the coffee” in the Brown. This is likely because Miller knew Walters, but never met Alexander Hargreaves Brown, who offered his commission through an agent in Baltimore.
Signed LC: AJMiller pt. On mat LR: No. 24./Breakfast at Sunrise.
The artist; Alexander Brown, Liverpool, England, 1867; by descent to Mrs. J.B. Jardine, Chesterknowes, Scotland; present owner by gift