This is one of two hundred studio watercolors Miller painted for William T. Walters based on field sketches from his 1837 journey West. About this tranquil domestic scene Miller wrote, “The subject of this sketch is an Indian’s home;–he has planted his lodge on the borders of a small stream, screened from the prairie by hills in the middle distance, near which are some of his party.” (Ross, 64) In an earlier version of the composition Miller focused more squarely on the family group and two horses, depicting their landscape surroundings with little detail. Here, he took a wider angle on the scene, giving more prominence to the tree at right and spit of landscape in the foreground. The curved form of the tree trunk with its radiating boughs and the backlit foliage create a theatrical setting which frames the scene and draws the viewer’s eye to the characters at center stage.
Karen B. McWhorter
LR: Miller; No. 35
The artist; William T. Walters, Baltimore, MD; Present owner