This watercolor is likely the preparatory sketch Miller made for Breakfast at Sunrise in the Walters collection. It bears the number 33, which corresponds to the accompanying note in Rough Draughts for Notes to Indian Sketches. Its composition is almost an exact transcription in reverse of An Early Dinner Party near Larrimer’s [Laramie] Fork, CR# 92A with the same number, pose, and placement of figures. It retains the compact arrangement of the party, without the broader landscape visible on either side of the group in the later Brown and Walters versions. Its near square dimensions likewise stand at a transition point between the vertically oriented Stewart sketch and the horizontally oriented Walters and Brown watercolors.
Miller wisely made copies of the Stewart watercolors either before he shipped the images to Scotland or before he left them on his return to Baltimore as a basis for future compositions. Here, as in some other cases, (see CR# 459), Miller appears to have traced the Stewart sketch on thin tissue, then painted over it. In the case of this watercolor, he painted the tissue on the opposite side, accounting for the mirror-reversal of the composition.
UR: 33 / Trappers & Voyaguers / at their Meals of / Buffalo Hump rib
The artist; [?]; Carrie C. Miller, Annapolis, MD; Mae Reed Porter, Kansas City, MO; [M. Knoedler and Co., New York, NY]; present owner