This sketch bears the inscription “Curious Formations of Earth/ near Scott’s Bluff/ the nearest called the /Court House.” The composition, with Indians riding across the plains toward the right of the sheet is similar to the composition of Curious Formations of Earth near the Platte (CR# 135), but the position of the Indians is reversed. However, rather than including just the Court House Rock and Jail Rock, Miller has added two more, imaginary rock formations. Perhaps because Scott’s Bluff was a long series of five large rocks, the artist confused the two sites and created an image that was essentially a combination of features.
The long format of the image, together with the layering of colors and the thick application of pigment are not consistent stylistically with Miller’s early field work. Rather, this image may have been something Miller created from memory and kept in his studio as a model for future images. This watercolor was not one made on commission, but was passed down to Miller’s descendants following his death.
The artist; by descent to Louisa Whyte Norton; [Old Print Shop, New York, NY, 1947]; Everett D. Graff, Winnetka, IL, 1947; Charles B. Nevins, Chicago, IL; present owner by gift, 2009