Baltimore artist, Alfred Jacob Miller was a prolific sketcher. He filled many journals with drawings and captions from the time he was studying in Paris and Rome (1833) until the 1870's. In 1969 a collection of 100 of these sketches was generously donated to the Walters Art Museum by J. William Middendorf II. The interests of Miller are clearly reflected in these sketches: the theater (a large portion being quick figure drawings of the Ravel Pantomime Troupe), childhood memories, Baltimore scenery, and witty scenes of characters. (See The Walters Art Gallery Bulletin, April, 1969, Vol. 21, No. 7, Pages 3-4). "After the 'Slap up' party of last night! Frank is somewhat indisposed to study." -Miller
Smith was born on St. Paul Street, Baltimore. He trained initially as an engineer but later taught himself to paint in watercolors. He traveled extensively, producing watercolors which were reproduced in deluxe "travel books," such as "Gondola Days" (1897) and "The Venice of To-Day" (1897) as well as various magazines. He was also the author of many popular books. The artist regarded this view of the Grand Canal showing the 17th-century church, Santa Maria della Salute, as one of his masterpieces.
Hays's fame rests on his sketches and oil paintings of animals and prairie views made on a 5-month trip up the upper Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers, and across the Great Plains into the Dakotas and Montana. He also painted and exhibited fruit and flower still lifes. Hays later visited England and made sketching trips to Nova Scotia and the Adirondacks. His studio was in New York City. He exhibited at the National Academy of Design, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Maryland Historical Society.