The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984 Page: 326
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
information concerning Miller's early training and travels in Europe,
and his essay concerning Miller's later years in Baltimore places him
in clearer focus as a kind of would-be aristocrat who did not really
have to depend upon his paintings for a living. The illustrations of
Miller's early and late work that accompany this essay are especially
Ron C. Tyler's essay, which covers Miller's experiences with Sir
William Drummond Stewart, is extremely thorough and certainly
interesting. Indeed, in this essay Tyler has untangled the very com-
plicated sequence of Miller's works, from the field sketches through
the first oil paintings that he executed for Stewart while in residence
at Murthly Castle. In addition, Tyler has also documented in great
detail Stewart's experience at Murthly Castle. Much of his work,
however, follows the earlier leads of Mae Reed Porter in her fine
book Scotsman in Buckskin. And having Porter's book as a resource,
this reviewer would have liked to have seen him resolve, in some
way, the problem of Stewart and Miller's exact travels in that memo-
rable year of 1837. If one goes over the ground in the Wind River
Mountains, one finds that there are several high glacial lakes and
passes named for or by Miller and Stewart. Something of the spirit of
Francis Parkman, who insisted on visiting the sites about which he
wrote, might have improved Tyler's otherwise excellent essay.
Carol Clark's twelve-page essay on Miller as romantic painter is
exciting and knowledgeable, while at the same time tantalizing.
Clark places Miller in the context of European romanticism and re-
lates him to the painters that most inspired his work. Clark never
makes clear, however, exactly what romanticism meant. Like so many
other art historians of the period she simply takes the term for granted,
which suggests that, for art historians, some more profound spade
work in the field of intellectual history is necessary. She correctly ob-
serves that there were many different kinds of romantic painters, but
does not explain why we should then use the term romantic to cover
them all. This is an old but important question. A second aspect of
Miller's work might also have been considered by Clark, and that is
the literary or narrative nature of his paintings. Virtually all of his
paintings tell a story, and one wonders what this had to do with not
only romanticism, but the rise of the novel, such as those by Charles
Dickens and Sir Walter Scott, as well as the narrative poems of Lord
Byron in the same period. This suggests that much remains to be done
in the area of characterizing the work of the narrative painter in the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984, periodical, 1983/1984; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/m1/378/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.