Painted in 1850, probably for one of Miller’s local patrons, the Encampment of Indians shows “some Indians seated near their camp fire, talking and smoking, while preparations are busily going forward for a feast. A warrior chief has just dismounted from his horse, returning from hunting, or something worse, and the inevitable pipe is ready for him. In the distance are Lodges; Indians preparing their bows, &c.” Miller set the scene “near the close of day,” and noted that “the sun is throwing a warm glow over the distant hills” while hump ribs roast over the fire at the lower left.
Miller pictured a domestic scene, but when he wrote the caption for another version of the painting (CR #428A) for the Walters commission, he added tension to the scene by suggesting that “a sudden war whoop would rouse instantly the demon within them, and change altogether the aspect of things. In a state of quietude, they are merely sleeping volcanoes liable to break forth at any moment;–the slightest provocation converting the fair scene into one of carnage and desolation.” (Ross, 1968, text accompanying plate 34)
LR: A J Miller / 1850
The artist: [?]; [M. Knoedler and Company, New York, NY]; Thomas Gilcrease, Tulsa, OK; present owner by gift