As Stewart was preparing to return to Scotland as the laird of Murthly, Grandtully, and Logiealmond, he commissioned a number of oil paintings from Miller, and the young artist moved back to Baltimore as he began work on them in the summer of 1838. He soon had a number of them on exhibit at the same time that George Catlin was in the city. One reporter noted that the pictures did Miller “much honor,” while another perceived “more of the painter than the artist. The true artist, would have endeavoured…[to] give us nature in her dress of glorious green, bathing her mountains and her vallies in the light of heaven…,” he claimed, but, on the whole, Miller’s hometown critics liked what they saw: “Judging from the production of Mr. Miller’s pencil that have come under our notice, we have no hesitation in saying that in him the country possesses an artist whose talents are calculated to reflect an enduring reputation in his native land.”
By the spring of 1839, Miller had completed eighteen oils, and publisher J. Watson Webb, one of Stewart’s good friends, arranged to have them exhibited at the Apollo Gallery in New York City before they were shipped to Scotland. The critic for the New York Weekly Herald called Pipe of Peace at the Rendezvous (exhibited as Camp of the Indians at the Rendezvous of the Whites, near the Mountains of the Winds) “a most splendid painting. The waving blue mountains in the back ground, and the bustle and animation in the foreground, are beautiful,” he wrote. “The Alps are nothing to these cold, blue Mountains of the Wind,” and Captain Stewart is shown reclining “quite en famille” in the foreground. (Tyler, 1982, pp. 33 – 36)
This large painting, perhaps more than others, shows the difficulty that the young Miller had enlarging his small sketches into mural-size paintings. The awkward composition makes it appear that Stewart is reclining on a cliff and that his sleeping companion at the lower center is in danger of falling off the edge.
The artist; Sir William Drummond Stewart; Frank Nichols; [Chapman’s, Edinburgh, June 16 – 17, 1871]; Judah P. Benjamin, London (d. Paris, 1884)?; [Appleby Brothers]; [B.F. Stevens and Brown, London]; Sir Henry Wellcome, London (sale: Christies’s, London); Julian H. Youche, Crown Point, Ind. (unsold at sale: [American Art Association Anderson Galleries, New York, NY, December 9, 1938]); Mrs. Anna K. Winter, New York, NY; [Old Print Shop, New York, NY (1943 – 1944)]; (withdrawn from PB sale, September 1944); Mae Reed Porter (December 7, 1944); [Edward Eberstadt and Sons, New York, NY (1954 – 1958)]; present owner