At least seven sketches Miller produced for Stewart show the nobleman visiting Indian camps, making the subject an important theme within the watercolor album. Here, as in Visit to an Indian Encampment, CR# 419, Miller presents Stewart in the background while foregrounding the domestic labor of Indian women.
At the center of this image a woman stands, leaning over slightly under the weight of a cradleboard. The cradleboard is supported by a thick strap that wraps around the woman’s head. The child’s feet rest on a small platform at the base of the board while its body would have been wrapped tightly against the back of the board. In this image, the wrapping is not visible, nor is the flexible strap of wood that would have bowed out in front of the child’s head to protect it. Miller also portrays the child as quite a bit larger than the infant typically carried in a cradleboard. The young girl seated at the mother’s feet and facing outward appears lost in thought. Her reverie is in stark contrast to the labor of the grown woman, and Miller may have intended to underscore the labor of adult life, particularly, as he saw it, for Indian women, by comparing it to the carefree existence of a child.
The watercolor is loosely painted, with ample use of broad swaths of wash to render areas of trees and grass. The artist employs an economy of pen and ink to articulate the boundaries and textures of the forms, as is characteristic of the works produced for Stewart. Perhaps in an effort to emphasize Stewart and Antoine, Miller has gone over their figures with a darker wash and heightened the bushes behind them with opaque white.
The artist; Sir William Drummond Stewart, 1839; Frank Nichols Stewart; [Chapman’s Edinburgh, 1871]; Bonamy Mansell Power; willed to Edward Power, 1900; by descent to Major G.H. Power, Great Yarmouth England; England, 1966; [Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, NY, 1966]; [Chapellier Galleries, New York, NY, 1966]; Eugene B. Adkins, Tulsa, OK; present owner