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A "Surround" of Buffalo by Indians


Description Provenance Credit
Description "A scene of this kind requires a large body of Indians, and when everything is in readiness (the distant plain being literally black with Buffalo), the 'runners' are called, mounted on fleet horses and well armed, who move cautiously toward the herd, keeping out of sight of the animals by traversing ravines and hollows. On reaching a proper distance, a signal is given and they all start at once with frightful yells, & commence racing around the herd, drawing their circle closer and closer, until the whol body is huddled together in confusion. Now they begin firing, and as this throws them into a headlong panic and furious rage, each man selects his animal, wheeling and coursing through the affrighted herd;- the dexterity and grace of the Indians and the thousands upon thousands of Buffalo moving in every direction over an illimitable prairie form a scene altogether, that in the whole world beside, cannot be matched." A.J. Miller, extracted from "The West of Alfred Jacob Miller" (1837). In July 1858 William T. Walters commissioned 200 watercolors at twelve dollars apiece from Baltimore born artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These paintings were each accompanied by a descriptive text, and were delivered in installments over the next twenty-one months and ultimately were bound in three albums. Transcriptions of field-sketches drawn during the 1837 expedition that Miller had undertaken to the annual fur-trader's rendezvous in the Green River Valley (in what is now western Wyoming), these watercolors are a unique record of the closing years of the western fur trade.
Provenance William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1858-1860, by commission; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860

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Period
1858-1860
Medium
watercolor on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
37.1940.200
Measurements
H: 9 9/16 x W: 17 9/16 in. (24.3 x 44.6 cm)
Geographies
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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