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The Bee Hunter
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The Bee Hunter

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. "This little industrious harbinger of civilization is fast spreading over the fertile plains of the Far West, and may as well have the credit also of having discovered the 'axiom' that 'a straight line is the shortest distance between two given points,' long before that old fussy fellow Euclid ever dreamed of it. The mode of finding their hives is illustrated in the sketch. A piece of honey comb is secured to the top of a bush, this attracts the wild bees, and when several are buzzing about it, the hunters diligently watch them, and as soon as one is ready to start keeps his eye on him. As he flies direct, the hunter urns with his eyes upward, and never loses sight of him till he reaches his destination (usually an old hollow tree), axes are now brought into requisition,- the tree felled - split open,- and the house hold of the poor insects laid bare, filled to overflowing with its sweets, sometimes extending 8 or 10 feet long trunk." 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
12/01/1987Treatmentcleaned; re-housed; mounted
  • 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 left: AJMiller
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860

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watercolor on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 9 1/8 x W: 12 7/8 in. (23.2 x 32.7 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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