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Crossing The River - Trapper Trying Its Depth
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Crossing The River - Trapper Trying Its Depth

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Extracts from Alfred Jacob Miller’s original text, which accompanied his images of Native Americans, are included below for reference. When the caravan approached a river, "a trusty and experienced man is... selected whose business it is to cross the river and try its depths, and then return by a different route, looking out [for] the shallowest parts and marking them in his mind's eyes as a trail for the company." If the river was not shallow enough for the wagons to cross, everything had to be unloaded and bull boats- the wagon beds covered with buffalo hides- had to be constructed and all the caravan's goods floated across. 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.
Date Description Narrative
8/11/1981Examinationexamined for exhibition
1/22/1990Loan Considerationexamined for loan
6/01/1990Treatmentmounted; re-housed
  • Alfred Jacob Miller: An Artist on the Oregon Trail. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody. 1981-1982.
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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watercolor on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 8 3/4 x W: 12 5/16 in. (22.2 x 31.2 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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