The composition of this image clearly relates to that of CR# 94, Campfire, Preparing the Evening Meal, with the core group of six men around a campfire expanded to include Sir William Drummond Stewart reclining on the ground just outside the circle. Flanking him on the right is a figure, probably Metis, with long flowing hair, and wearing a western belted jacket. The head of the figure appears to have been scraped off and re-drawn in a different position, and there is a faint pencil line articulating a right leg underneath the left. These pentimenti, together with the damaged corners and tear in the center raise the possibility that this version was also painted in the field and later included (despite the wear) in the set of watercolors Miller painted for Stewart. If so, Miller may have made two sketches on the spot, or he may have transcribed CR# 94 and added Stewart’s figure from life. Interestingly, Miller has transformed the four foreground trappers into Indian and Metis figures in this version. Although trappers appear in Miller’s field sketches and his watercolors for Walters, scant few scenes of trappers appear in the collection of paintings for Sir William Drummond Stewart. If this sketch was completed in the field, Miller surely did so with the understanding that it would be expressly for Stewart.
UL: 18. On mount LC: Camp Fire-by Moonlight.-
The artist; Sir William Drummond Stewart, ca. 1839; Frank Nichols; [Chapman’s, Edinburgh, June 16 – 17, 1871]; Bonamy Mansell Power; willed to Edward Power, 1900; by descent to Major G.H. Power, Great Yarmouth, England [sale: PB, May 6 1966]; bought by Edward Eberstadt and Sons for Frederick William Beinecke; present owner by gift