Miller likely painted this watercolor in conjunction with the Hunter Museum’s version (CR #191B), or as a preparatory sketch for the Walters watercolor (CR# 191H). Executed on a clean sheet of London Crayon Board, its composition is close to the Hunter Museum’s oil and almost identical to the Walters watercolor—from the number and arrangement of the figures to the generalized camp setting. Gone is the tepee overlooking a broad valley and the crowd of onlookers, and with them, much of the drama of the earlier versions (CR# 191C, E, F). The figures in the background do not appear to notice the wedding taking place nearby. There is less suspense in the couple’s interaction as well. The groom’s expression lacks the expectant tilt of the head present in the earlier oils, while the bride looks directly at her groom, her posture less tentative.
Stylistically the watercolor resembles Miller’s work from the fifties. Miller uses gouaches and pen and ink to bring the image to a higher level of finish than in his field sketches or his watercolors for Sir William Drummond Stewart. Thick strokes of white highlight the bride’s necklace, belt, and sleeves. As is typical of the Walters images, Miller articulates long strands of fringe, feathers, and hair to create a more elaborate surface. In contrast, the background fire and distant mountains are lightly sketched and covered in thin washes of pigment with touches of white on the peaks.
Signed LL: AJM. UR: The Trappers Bride
The artist; Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, MD; [M. Knoedler and Co., New York, NY (1954 – 1959)]; Thomas Gilcrease, Tulsa, OK; present owner by gift