MILLER, Alfred J., illustrator. -- WEBBER, Charles Wilkins. (1819-1856). Wild Scenes and Song Birds.. illustrated with... colored lithographs, drawn by Mrs. C.W. Webber and Alfred J. Miller. New York: George P. Putnam & Co., 1854.
8o (243 x 163 mm). 20 chromolithographed plates, drawn on stone by Max Rosenthal, printed by L.N. Rosenthal of Philadelphia after Mrs. Webber (15) or Miller (5) (occasional browning and spotting). (First text leaf inlaid, some scattered soiling, a few marginal tape repairs.) Original publisher's black morocco gilt, cover with elaborate blocked design in gilt and blind with large central sunken lozenge blocked with a gilt vignette of the "southern mocking bird" signed "Tompson" (in reverse) (rebacked).
FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF ONLY TWO PUBLISHED WORKS TO CONTAIN CHROMOLITHOGRAPHS AFTER ALFRED JACOB MILLER, ONE OF THE THREE GREAT EARLY "WESTERN" ARTISTS. Miller's contribution consists of five views of Indian life, four of which, according to the author, are of "scenes in the camp of the Delawares," although they are almost certainly based on the artist's sketches of the Snake Indians (a sub-group of the Shoshone). Miller, born in Baltimore in 1810, was employed by Captain (later Sir) William Drummond Stewart to record his expedition of 1837 to Wyoming to take part in the annual rendezvous between the trappers and fur-traders. The meeting took place in "a beautiful mountain meadow near Horse Creek, a tributary of the Green River between the Wind River Mountains and the Bear River range" (Ron Tyler Prints of the American West p.58). "Miller's record of that summer is unique, for he was the only artist to attend the rendezvous... He was the first to document the central Rocky Mountains, he painted and sketched the trip out as well as the rendezvous, Indian life, and the plains and mountains" (op.cit. p.59). "The rendezvous was a month long event... The highlight [of which]... was the arrival of the Snake Indians, who demanded that all other activity cease while they paraded around the grounds. But the great opportunity for Miller was the domestic scenes of Indian life that he witnessed and quickly sketched in the various camps and around the meadow" (op.cit. p.60). The five prints in the present work were drawn on stone by Max Rosenthal. Two of them include images of bare-breasted Indian maidens, in the interests of 'decency' these plates were later withdrawn and reissued with the women fully clothed. The prints are titled: 1. Indian Caressing His Horse; 2. Encampment of Indians; 3. Toilet of the Indian Girls; 4. Antelope Chase; 5. Indian Girl Swinging. The remaining prints in the present work are from drawings of birds (13) and flowers (2) by the wife of the author, the birds apparently drawn from stuffed specimens prepared by Mr. Galbraith of Camden, New Jersey. The present copy is bound in a publisher's binding, a deluxe form of the binding not recorded by Bennett, who only mentions the cheaper cloth version. Bennett p.111; Reese 28; Ripley p.307; Tyler Prints of the American West pp.64-5; Zimmer p.667.