Another album sketch that treats the exchange of information between Indians and Stewart is An Indian Who Asks (by signs) what Caravan is Seen in the Plain. Here Miller depicts Stewart, Antoine, and an Indian man seated on horseback on a precipice overlooking an open plain. The Indian man points towards the tiny arc of an approaching caravan visible in the middle right distance as if to ask, as the title indicates, what caravan he sees. Stewart is clearly the focus of the image. His placement at the center of the group and roughly horizontal to the picture plane gives him greater prominence than Antoine, and his form receives more careful articulation, as the white of his jacket, highlighted by bold, dark contour lines, forms a strong contrast to the gray washes of the coloring of the two men on either side of him. The frontal torso of the Indian man is echoed in the near-mirror image of Stewart’s torso, seen fully from the back. This front and back symmetry creates a formal counterpart of dialogue: a visual equivalent of a question and answer.
If the caravan in the distance is his own, the image portrays Stewart in the important role of reconnaissance, but it also gestures to the crucial role that Indians played in helping trappers and traders find their way across the largely unmapped terrain.
The artist; Sir William Drummond Stewart, 1839; Frank Nichols Stewart, 1871; [Chapman’s, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1871]; Bonamy Mansell Power; willed to Edward Power, 1900; by descent to Major G.H. Power, Great Yarmouth England; [Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, NY, 1966]; Eugene B. Adkins, Tulsa, OK; present owner by gift