This watercolor is a close replica of Miller’s commissioned work for William Walters of Baltimore (CR# 143A). In this version the sky and distant mountains are generalized and hazy. The bear is a bit hazy as well, looking more distracted than frightened or angry. As in the other versions of the watercolor, Stewart approaches the fleeing bruin at a gallop. He adjusts his rifle in anticipation of the fatal shot that will end the scene and the bear’s days.
Unlike the Walters version, this scene seems to be set in the autumn as the leaves on the bushes have essentially disappeared.
Miller wrote for his English patron, Alexander Brown, that for the trapper, as for sportsmen like Stewart, the grizzly was a “formidable and ferocious” adversary and its pursuit was “reckless” but engaging. “To capture the grizzly Bear is considered a signal honour, and a great coup. The relating of it is the crème de la crème of stories at the campfire, listened to with the most eager attention, and admitting a vast amount of embellishment” (Bell, 96).
Peter H. Hassrick
LL: No. 21./The Grizzly Bear
The artist; Alexander Brown, Liverpool, England, 1867; by descent to Mrs. J.B. Jardine, 1946; present owner by gift