This watercolor is a little smaller in size than the one at the Walters on which it was based, but its composition is almost identical. In each we see Stewart at the center, followed by a long line of trappers and Indians with covered wagons in the distance. Miller has made one slight change to the lower left of this image, however, which offers a new narrative thread. The rider on a mule now pulls a second mule that is loaded down with a large pack of freshly killed game. His return from a successful hunt prompts the departure of the next crew of hunters at the right foreground. Miller observed that a bountiful hunt was of crucial importance to the caravan, which depended on daily game for its provisions.
Miller’s accompanying note identifies Stewart as the commander, but he does not make clear whether Stewart leads the whole caravan (as he appears to in the image) or just his own party. In fact, the caravan was under the supervision of Thomas Fitzpatrick, of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, but Fitzpatrick gave Stewart some executive duties.
LL: AJMiller Pt; LR on mat: No. 17./Caravan en Route.
The artist; Alexander Brown, Liverpool, England, 1867; by descent to Mrs. J.B. Jardine, Chesterknowes, Scotland, 1946; present owner by gift