In this sketch, which is rendered almost entirely in delicate pen and ink, covered in brown wash, Miller confidently exploits the characteristics of the ink and wash medium. He uses subtly modulated washes to suggest the muscular physique of the horses, while economical pen lines capture their finely formed heads. Using a sophisticated watercolor technique, Miller exploits the color of the paper by leaving the areas that he wanted to be white unpainted.
The sketch shows Stewart’s party catching and tying their horses to a line and stake. While some of the men hold the lines, others kneel to attach them to stakes pounded into the ground. According to Miller, this job was hard work, and he asked Stewart if he might pay someone else to do it for him but, “reasons were as plentiful as blackberries why it should not be done, so we had to attend to this duty the whole journey.” In his journal, Miller further elaborated on Stewart’s philosophy about camp duties. Stewart “said I had been spoiled at home—he insisted, among other things that I should catch my horse of a morning…so that I had to run a considerable distance in moccasins with the additional difficulty of securing him when I came up with him.” Once in Scotland, however, the rules changed to fit the new circumstances. Miller was able to enjoy parties, fine meals, and the assistance of servants.
The artist; Sir Drummond Stewart, 1839; Frank Nichols Stewart, 1871; [Chapman’s, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1871]; Bonamy Mansell Power; willed to Edward Power, 1900; by descent to Major G.H. Power, Great Yarmouth, England, 1966; [Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, NY, 1966]; present owner