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Free Trappers in Trouble
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Free Trappers in Trouble

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description Extracts from Alfred Jacob Miller’s original text, which accompanied his images of Native Americans, are included below for reference. "The sketch illustrates an incident of two mountain Trappers, found near Independence Rock, in a starving condition. On the Caravan's reaching them, it was discovered that their ammunition was completely exhausted,- but on that morning one of them had succeeded in killing two rattle snakes, which were in the process of cooking on the fire. Our Captain's question to them was, 'Good God! how can you eat such disguesting food?' One of them answered 'This child doe'st savez what disgustin' is' - Wagh! In consideration of their weak state, a soup was first prepared for them, which they ate with a will. This was followed by some bottled porter- and then came the substantials in the shape of humpribs &c. On parting with them, our Captain presented each with a horse, a supply of powder and shot, & a blanket, sending them on their way rejoicing, and with an equipment better than ever." 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.
Date Description Narrative
  • Alfred Jacob Miller: Maryland and the West. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Washington College, Chestertown; Frostburg State University, Frostburg; Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, Rockville. 1988.
Provenance William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1858-1860, by commission; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Monogram] Lower right: AJM
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860

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watercolor on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 8 5/16 x W: 12 1/8 in. (21.1 x 30.8 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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