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Scott's Bluffs
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Scott's Bluffs

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Extracts from Alfred Jacob Miller’s original text, which accompanied his images of Native Americans, are included below for reference. Soon after passing Chimney Rock, the traveler saw Scott's Bluffs, a mound with the appearance of an "immense fortification with bastions, towers, battlements, and embrazures" to Miller. Stewart (Edward Warren, p. 156) called it "an obstacle to be surmounted." The name originated, Miller noted, when a man named Scott became sick and had to be abandoned near the bluffs, but there are many other versions of the story. "The name originates from a lamentable event that happened here many years ago. A band of men were proceeding to the mountains:- on reaching this bluff one of the party (Scott) sickened and became so ill that after waiting a few days, they were compelled to go on;- they however detailed a man to remain with the sick man, and bring him on when recovered. Certain appearances about these bluffs would seem to indicate that all the prairie hereabouts was at once time covered with water." A.J. Miller, extracted from "The West of Alfred Jacob Miller" (1837). In July 1858 William T. Walters commissioned 200 watercolors at twelve dollars apiece from Baltimore born artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These paintings were each accompanied by a descriptive text, and were delivered in installments over the next twenty-one months and ultimately were bound in three albums. Transcriptions of field-sketches drawn during the 1837 expedition that Miller had undertaken to the annual fur-trader's rendezvous in the Green River Valley (in what is now western Wyoming), these watercolors are a unique record of the closing years of the western fur trade.
Date Description Narrative
12/18/1978Treatmentcleaned; re-housed
  • Beyond the Endless River: Western American Drawings and Watercolors of the Nineteenth Century. Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix; San Diego Museum Of Art, San Diego; Wichita Art Museum, Wichita. 1979.
  • Alfred Jacob Miller: An Artist on the Oregon Trail. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody. 1981-1982.
  • Alfred Jacob Miller: Watercolors and Drawings. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984.
  • Alfred Jacob Miller: Maryland and the West. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Washington College, Chestertown; Frostburg State University, Frostburg; Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, Rockville. 1988.
Provenance William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1858-1860, by commission; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860

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watercolor and gouache on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 9 1/16 x W: 14 1/4 in. (23 x 36.2 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
  • USA, Scotts Bluff (Place Depicted)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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