Antoine Clement was the caravan’s principal hunter, the son of a French Canadian and Cree Indian and a spirited young man probably about Miller’s age. Stewart first met him at the 1833 rendezvous and they had been friends and traveling companions ever since. Stewart later wrote two novels, Altowan, or Incidents of Life and Adventure in the Rocky Mountains (1846) and Edward Warren (1854), about his western adventures and included the following among a number of passages extolling Antoine’s exotic charm:
The figure which stood before us, was that of a youth under twenty, a half-breed, with light brown hair worn long, and the almond shaped hazel eyes of his mother’s race—the fine formed limbs and small hands, with a slightly olive tinge of skin. His dress was almost Indian, consisting of a leather shirt and leggings, coming a little above the knee, almost to meet it, and tied up to the waist belt by a small strip of leather, on the outside of each thigh. The skirt of the shirt, though full, did not reach far down, thus forming a short Scotch kilt and coat all in one, which may probably be the original shape of that species of attire”(Stewart, 1986, 226; Benemann, 2012, 85 – 91).
Miller included Antoine in a number of scenes and made at least two portraits during the expedition, the sketch shown here and a double portrait with Stewart (CR# 378) showing only heads. This portrait shows the hatless Antoine wearing a fringed buckskin jacket and with his long, dark hair draping over his shoulders. This may be a sketch that Miller made in the process of producing the portrait (CR# 52C) for the Walters commission.
LR of composition: Antoine Principal Hunter to the Camp. LL of sheet: 90. LR of sheet: Antoine principal hunter to Sir W.D.S.
LC of composition: AJM
The artist; Mrs. Laurence R. Carton; [M. Knoedler and Company, New York, 1965]; InterNorth Art Foundation, Omaha, NE; present owner