Robert G. Schofield

English-born Robert G. Schofield (1838-1915) regularly placed advertisements in the Pioche Record that touted his skills as a watchmaker, jeweler, engraver, housepainter, and signmaker. In addition, there was a constant thread throughout Schofield's life—his love of art, mostly expressed in watercolor paintings that painstakingly recorded vistas and mining camps along the eastern flank of Nevada.

If one ventures into the 1872 "Million Dollar Courthouse" in Pioche, Nevada, and wanders upstairs, several dozen watercolor paintings by Schofield can be viewed along the hallway and around the walls of the restored courtroom. Some are views of Pioche: the schoolhouse, railroad station, and Chinatown; others offer scenes of Cherry Creek, Taylor, and Eureka, all executed between 1878 and 1913.

Schofield was a Renaissance man of sorts. In addition to his expertise at various trades, he also held elective office (two-term justice of the peace) and offered instruction in drawing and French "to young ladies and gentlemen desiring to acquire a pure Parisian accent." He penned poems with titles such as "Ode to a Defunct Mining Camp" that were often printed in the Pioche Record.

The artist's paintings seldom exceeded the size of a piece of typing paper. He composed his images with short, almost fussy brushstrokes that were more akin to French Impressionism than the broad wash techniques of today's watercolorists. His colors tended to be more earthy than vibrant, possibly the result of the limited range of pigments available in his day.

The final days of Schofield's life were spent in relative seclusion; he suffered from senility, and was confined as a ward of Lincoln County.

In 2000, the Lincoln County Historical Museum loaned twenty-eight of Schofield's paintings for a retrospective exhibition at the Nevada Historical Society in Reno.

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