This watercolor is so close to the Walters version in style and composition that it is likely a sketch for the final composition. Both images show an Indian family seated on the banks of a still body of water, although here Miller does not include a broader landscape with distant horses and tipis. This version bears the number 77 in the upper left corner, which corresponds to the number of the accompanying note in Miller’s rough drafts for the notes to the Walters texts, again suggesting that this painting is a study for the Walters watercolor.
The peaceful scene of a woman quietly sewing while her husband sits smoking beside her belies the tone of the accompanying rough draft text, which describes the husband as waiting impatiently for his war shirt so that he can go out on attack: “The quiver is filled with arrows, and when all is ready, he does his enemy the honor to make elaborate toilet.—mounts his horse and is gone.” It is not unusual for the images Miller painted for Walters to appear at odds with the texts that accompany them. This discrepancy most likely reflected changing attitudes over the decades separating the initial field or studio sketches from the Walters watercolors.
LR: Embroidering the / War Costume. UL: 77. Signed LL: AJM.
The artist; Carrie C. Miller, Annapolis, MD; Mae Reed Porter, Kansas City, MO; present owner