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William Miller
Photograph of William Miller in circa 1862
Born(1796-05-28)28 May 1796
Died20 January 1882(1882-01-20) (aged 85)
Cause of death(burial location: Quaker Burial Ground, The Pleasance, Edinburgh, Scotland)
Spouse1. Ellen Miller d.1841; 2. Jane Miller

William Miller (28 May 1796 – 20 January 1882) was a Scottish Quaker line engraver and watercolourist from Edinburgh.


Miller became an apprentice to William Archibald in 1814. His first published engraving was in that year, of an apple tree for William Archibald. This engraving appeared in Vol I of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society. He spent four years with William Archibald, then setting up on his own account. At the end of 1819 he moved to Hackney to join the workshop of George Cooke. The premium paid for his 18-month stay with Cooke was £240. Other apprentices with Cooke included William Shotter Boys.

In the 1830s his address is listed as 4 Hope Park, in the Meadows area of Edinburgh.[1]


Whilst an apprentice with Cooke, Miller drew a series of plants from the neighbouring nursery of Loddiges. These were engraved by Cooke and published in volumes v - vii of Loddiges Botanical Cabinet, London, J. and A. Arch, 1820 - 1822.

Cattleya labiata 2, from Jefferson's Legacy, the collection of Library of Congress (Loddiges & Sons', The Botanical Cabinet. London, 1817–1833)

Miller was one of the principal engravers of J. M. W. Turner.[2]

James Giles, one of William Miller's pupils, wrote some reminiscences of his time as an apprentice at Hope Park. Writing from Redhill on 17 September 1883 (published privately in Memorials of Hope Park):

"Wm Miller's admiration of Turner was unbounded, and his pupils soon caught the infection. The drawings, which at first sight looked so mysterious and unintelligible, the more they were pondered, unfolded their wondrous meaning and beauty; and from my own experience I can testify, that sitting for weeks before the same drawing, I did not tire over them, as was the case with inferior pictures. The plates executed from 1833 to 1836 consisted of the illustrations to Scott's Works, Turner's 'Annual Tour', Gainsborough's 'Watering Place', a large Venice, by Turner and, of course, some plates of less note. The plates for Rogers's poems were engraved before my time, but not published till afterwards; these are probably the most exquisite gems that ever were, or ever will be produced. I beg however to differ from Ruskin in my estimate of them. I like Loch Lomond, and the old Ancestral Hall better than the vignette, with the fountain, at the beginning of the volume...........The Gainsborough was entirely the work of your father's own hand; it was done from a smaller copy of the original in the National Gallery. The pencil drawing was sent as usual to be transferred by the printer through the rolling press on to the etching ground, but when it came back the drawing was found to have shifted during the process, and the transferred outlines were thick and blurred. I should have been appalled, but your father made light of it, and etched away as if it had been all right.

"I need hardly say that it is as the interpreter of Turner your father's fame very much rests, and that Turner himself preferred 'the Scotch Quaker' to all other engravers. The skill with which he translated the high aerial effects was beyond all rivalry..........

"In making the outline drawings for transference to the plate, we were instructed to preserve every minute touch, indeed, keeping the touch was a point much insisted on. I remember an amusing instance of this. I was etching the Pass of Killicrankie, a vignette for Scott's Works; cottages were in flames, and the dead lying in the foreground; in the distance was a row of dark spots - the subject suggested they might be a regiment of soldiers, at the same time they looked very much like fir-trees. I asked your father's opinion, he reply was 'Oh, just keep the touch, and they can be taken for either.' He was not, however, so particular in the case of architecture; and when Edinburgh, from St. Anthony's Chapel, was in hand, he sent me to the spot to make sketches of the principal buildings in the distance. The High School in Turner's drawing was little more than a white patch. Your father did the foreground, and I believe, the sheep, but St. Anthony's Chapel, and the various distant buildings were etched by me - the latter from the sketches I had taken. For closeness of line and minute detail, it is the most laborious plate I was ever engaged on, and will, I believe, bear looking at through a magnifier. Of course, the beautiful effects depend entirely on the finish of your father. I had only to do with the mechanical part - the body - the soul is his. In the case of Turner's figures, perhaps keeping the touch was carried too far.

Nantfrangon, Carnarvonshire. Engraving by Miller c.1850

"Your father usually etched the foreground of the plates his pupils worked upon; and was fond of etching water, both rough and smooth, which was remarkable for its liquid effect.

"Turner's touched proofs were always an object of interest in the workroom. I recollect on the margin of one of them he had written. 'Mr Miller will please return all my touched proofs.' Whether this was done I cannot say; but they are generally considered the property of the engraver. They must be of considerable value."

Large single prints by Miller after Turner include The Grand Canal for Hodgson and Graves, 1837; Modern Italy for F G Moon, issued as the Presentation Plate for the National Art Union in 1843; and The Rhine, Osterprey and Feltzen for D T White in 1852.

His last engraved work was a series of vignettes after Myles Birket Foster to illustrate two volumes of the poems of Thomas Hood, published by Moxon in 1871 and 1872.

Bibliography of works illustrated by William Miller

Ancient Sarcophagi. Plataea; Ancient Temple at Corinth; Caritena, Ancient Brenthe; Corinth. Apocorinthus of Corinth; Delphi, Castalian Fountain, on Mount Parnassus; Eleusis, & Part of the Island of Salamis; Mount Oleno, Peloponnesus; Mountains of Locri Ozolae, looking towards Naupactus; Nemea; Part of Misitra, the Ancient Sparta; Parthenon of Athens; Patras (Ancient Patrae) Achaia; Plain of Orchomenos from Livadia; Plain of Plataea, from Mount Cithaeron; Promontary of Sunium from the Sea; Rocks of the Strophades; Temple of Minerva, Acropolis of Athens; Temples of Jupiter Panhellenius, Aegina; View Looking across the Isthmus of Corinth

View on the Thames near Windsor

Tapeworms Plate IV

Carrick Castle; Dunfermline Palace; Dunoon Castle; Dunstuffnage Castle; Falkland Palace; Kildrummie Castle in Mar; Court of Linlithgow Palace; Linlithgow Palace; Lochmaben Castle; Rothsay Castle Bute; Roxburgh Castle; Scone Palace; Traquair

Recumbent effigies of Menzies of Pitfodels, Lady Menzies, and Thomas Gordon of Rivan, 1831; Ancient Monuments in the Church of Kinkell, 1831; Curious Bronze Relic found near the Estuary of the River Findhorn, engraving after Sir Thos Dick Lauder, 1831

The Pilot

Linlithgow Palace

Lake of Como

Borghese Palace, Rome

Isola Bella, Lago Maggiore

The Seashore, Cornwall


Palace of La Belle Gabrielle on the Seine

'The Bandit's Home' after J V Barber : The Bandit's Home 'Delos' after William Linton: Delos

Plan and Section of the Intended Branch Railways from the Stockton and Darlington Main Railway to the River Tess in the Counties of Durham and York, 1827, Thomas Storey Engineer, Richard Otley Surveyor, W Miller Sc. Edinr; Side and end views of a locomotive engine similar to the Planet employed on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway manufactured by Messrs. Rob. Stephenson & Co., Newcastle upon Tyne

Llanercost Priory, Cumberland; Newcastle upon Tyne, from New Chatham, Gateshead; North and South Shields, Taken from the Rocks near Teignmouth; Ullswater from Pooly Bridge

Tower of London

Fairies on the Seashore

Sunset (after Claude); Mount Aetna (after Claude); Richmond Hill; The Halt in the Desert

The Wreck

Klumm; Trent

Homeward Bound, Distant View of Brill

Dieppe; Mont St Michel, Within the Walls

Tomb of Humaioon Delhi; Delhi, engraving after W Purser, 1833; Thubare; Seven-storied Palace at Bejapore; The British Residency at Hyderabad

Glen of the Greta

A Garden Old Manor House; Venice, The Rialto - Moonlight; Loch Lomond

Nantes; Between Clairemont and Mauves; Chateau de Nantes

Rouen; Rouen St Catherine's Hill

Pont Neuf; Melun

Dryburgh Abbey; Melrose; Edinburgh from Blackford Hill; Loch Katrine; Loch Achray; Skiddaw; Berwick-upon-Tweed

Dumbarton Castle; Brussels; Hougemont; New Abbey, near Dumfries; Norham Castle, Moonrise; Jerusalem; Brienne; Venice, the Campanile; Placenza; Verona; Vincennes; St Cloud; Mayence; The Simplon; Paris from Pere-la-Chaise; Malmaison; Fontainebleau; Chiefswood Cottage; The Rhymer's Glen; Edinburgh from St Anthony's Chapel; Craigmillar Castle; Dunstaffnage; Linlithgow; Glencoe; Killiecrankie; Inverness; Fort Augustus; Craig Crook Castle, near Edinburgh

Botallack Mine, Cornwall; Hastings; Havre de Grace

The Dead Eagle - Oran

Straits of Dover; Great Yarmouth, Norfolk; Stamford, Lincolnshire; Windsor Castle, Berkshire; Chatham, Kent; Carew Castle, Pembroke; Durham Cathedral

Loch an Eilan

Limekilns at Southwick on the Wear after Edward Swinburne 1826; Shields Harbour after Edward Swinburne 1827; Lower Tees near Dinsdale open etching after Edward Swinburne 1832; Lower Tees near Dinsdale after Edward Swinburne 1832; High Force on the Tees after Edward Swinburne 1832

Highland Hills, from the Teith below Callender; Holyrood House and Chapel, from Calton Hill; View of James' Court Edinburgh; Queensferry, from the South-east; Bass Rock, East Lothian; Loch Ard; Edinburgh, from St Anthony's Chapel; View from Fast Castle; Tantallon Castle; Durrenstein on the Danube; York Minster, Moonlight View; Loch Leven and Castle; Barnbougle Castle and Firth of Forth, from Lauriestone Castle; Warwick Castle; View on the Coast of Zetland, near the Ness, Moonlight; Castle Rushen, Castletown, Isle of Man; Peel Castle, Isle of Man; Cologne; Tours; Liege; Abbotsford, from the North Bank of the Tweed; Peebles and River Tweed, from Neidpath Castle; St Mary's Loch;5 Dumfries; The Mouth of the Annan, and Solway Firth, Skiddaw in the Distance; Pass of Llanberis, Caernarvonshire; Pass of Nantfrangon, Caernarvonshire; The Dead Sea; Worcester; Kilchurn Castle; Selkirk; Constantinople; Ruins of Laodicea

Tynemouth Priory; Flamborough Head; Evening

The Minstrel; Sunrise; St Michael's Mount

The Giving of the Law; The Deluge

Entrance to Loch Skavaig, Skye

Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe

Sunset at Sea after a Storm after Francis Danby; Battle of Trafalgar after Clarkson Stanfield

Lochleven Castle; Edinburgh Castle; Dunbar Castle; Linlithgow Castle; Crookston Castle

Lochnaw, proof engraving after R K Greville, 1850

The Rhine - Osterprey and Feltzen

Italian Goatherds

"The toil-worn cottar frae his labour goes"; "Th' expectant wee things, toddlin, stacher thro'"

View of Ayr

The Port of London


Dryburgh Abbey: the Grave of Scott; Pool of Thames; Prince of Orange Landing at Torbay; The Watering Place; Dover - the Landing of Prince Albert; Vietri; The Shipwreck; The Battle of Trafalgar; Spithead; Line Fishing off Hastings; Modern Italy; Wreck off Hastings

Edward Pease (1767-1858), portrait engraving by William Miller, approximately 1859

Rab's Grave

Bethlehem; Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives; Antioch in Syria from the South West; The Town and Isthmus of Corinth

Peterborough; Stratford

Bolton Abbey

Hymn to the Sun 'Giver of glowing light'; Sonnet on Receiving a Gift 'Look how the golden ocean shines above'; The Mary 'The sea is bright with morning', p4, Hood's Poems, Moxon 1872|Bianca's Dream 'For Julio underneath the lattice play'd'; Bianca's Dream 'The next sweet even'; Ode to Rae Wilson 'Dear bells! How sweet the sounds of village bells'; Ode to Rae Wilson 'Liege's lovely environs'; Ghent; Ode to the Moon 'Mother of light!'; To ***, with a Flask of Rhinewater 'The old catholic city was still'; The Two Peacocks of Bedfont 'There, gentle stranger, thou mays't only see'; Ode to Melancholy 'No sorrow ever chokes their throats'; The Compass, with Variations 'Twas in the Bay of Naples'; Stanzas to Tom Woodgate, 'To climb the billows's hoary brow'; The Key - A Moorish Romance 'Th' Alhambra's pile'; To -. Composed at Rotterdam 'Before me lie dark waters'; To -. Composed at Rotterdam 'I'm at Rotterdam'; The Knight and the Dragon 'On the Drachenfels' crest'; The Knight and the Dragon '- He gazed on the Rhine'; I Remember 'I remember, I remember, The fir trees dark and high'; Poem, from the Polish 'To think upon the Bridge of Kew'; Address 'Yes! where the foaming billows rave the while';

The Dream of Eugene Aram 'Pleasantly shone the setting sun'; Autumn 'The autumn is old'; The Flower 'Lawk-a-daisy'; The Elm Tree ''Twas in a shady avenue'; The Elm Tree 'In all its giant bulk and length'; The Haunted House 'An old deserted mansion'; The Haunted House 'And in the weedy moat the heron'; Hastings; Hastings Beach; Hastings 'Boiling Sea'; The Romance of Cologne ''Tis midnight and the moonbeam'; The Plea of the Midsummer Fairies 'Thanks to the sweet Bard's auspicious pen'; The Mermaid of Margate 'He was saved from the hungry deep by a boat of Deal'; Hero and Leander 'Sestos and Abydos'; Hero and Leander 'Sestos and Abydos; A Legend of Navarre 'The old chateau'



  1. ^ "Edinburgh Post Office annual directory, 1832-1833". National Library of Scotland. p. 132. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  2. ^ His engravings after Turner included Portsmouth, Clovelly Bay and Comb Martin for An Antiquarian Tour Round the South Coast, J and A Arch, 1826; Bass Rock for Scott's Provincial Antiquities of Scotland, 1826; seven plates Straits of Dover, Great Yarmouth, Stamford, Windsor Castle, Chatham, Carew Castle and Durham Cathedral for Picturesque Views in England and Wales, London, Longman and Co, 1838.
  3. ^
    Apple tree.
  4. ^ Botany Plate 124; Shipbuilding Plate 490; Shipbuilding Plate 491; War Plate 552; War Plate 558
  5. ^ Erica ovata (Loddiges 417); Erica coventryana (Loddiges 423); Stapelia vetula (Loddiges 428); Phaca astragalina (Loddiges 429); Erica ventricosa (Loddiges 431); Crassula versicolor (Loddiges 433); Pinguicula grandiflora (Loddiges 445); Erica ramentacea (Loddiges 446); Olea europaea longifolia (Loddiges 456); Lissanthe daphnoides (Loddiges 466); Genista ovata (Loddiges 482); Polygonum frutescens (Loddiges 489); Phaca australis (Loddiges 490); Limodorum maculatum (Loddiges 496); Cytisus capitatus (Loddiges 497); Erica ampullacea (Loddiges 508); Erica scabriuscula (Loddiges 517); Erica andromedaeflora (Loddiges 521); Listera cordata (Loddiges 532); Ledum latifolium (Loddiges 534); Acacia verticillata (Loddiges 535); Erica daphnaeflora (Loddiges 543); Theobroma cacao (Loddiges 545); Eugenia malaccensis (Loddiges 555); Erica rubens (Loddiges 557); Erica spumosa (Loddiges 566); Silene acaulis (Loddiges 568); Dillwynia glaberrima (Loddiges 582); Erigeron alpinum (Loddiges 590); Polygala chamaebuxus (Loddiges 593); Erica pilosa (Loddiges 606); Rafnia triflora (Loddiges 611); Erica moschata (Loddiges 614); Vaccineum vitis-idaea (Loddiges 616); Erica grandinosa (Loddiges 627); Erica rubella (Loddiges 658); Erica purpurea (Loddiges 703); Phlox carnea(Loddiges 711); Erica primuloides (Loddiges 715); Calothamnus quadrifida (Loddiges 737);
  6. ^ Human Skull plate Va; Human Skull plate Vb; Human Skull plate VI; Human Skull plate VII; Human Skull plate VIII; Human Skull plate X
  7. ^ View down Glengluoy from the hills at its upper extremity from point a in the map, Plate I, after a drawing by Thomas Dick Lauder; View of the mouths of Glenroy and Glenspean taken from above Inch from point b in the map, Plate II, after a drawing by Thomas Dick Lauder; The Gap as seen from Glenroy taken from point e in the map, Plate III, after a drawing by Thomas Dick Lauder; View up Glenroy taken from the Gap from point d in the map, Plate IV, after a drawing by Thomas Dick Lauder; View of the head of Glenroy from point f in the map, Plaate V, after a drawing by Thomas Dick Lauder; View of the Entrance to Loch Treig from point g in the map, Plate VI, after a drawing by Thomas Dick Lauder; Diagrams, Plate VII, after a drawing by Thomas Dick Lauder; Diagrams to Illustrate the theory of the four different states of the Lakes, Plate VIII, after a drawing by Thomas Dick Lauder; A Map showing the different lines of Horizontal Shelves in the Glens of Lochaber, Plate IX, after a drawing by Thomas Dick Lauder; Ounartorsoak on the Southern Coast of Disko Island, Plate XVI; Mannik in the Waygat Eastwards from Disko Island, Plate XVII; Granite Obelisk of a Single Stone at Seringapatam,erected to the memory of Josiah Webbe Esqre, Plate XIX, after a drawing by Capt T Frazer of the Madras Engineers
  8. ^ Fly agaric, plate 54; Fungi, plate 171
    • German Scenery from Drawings made in 1820. Captain Robert Batty FRS. Rodwell and Martin, London 1823
    Castle of Nurnberg, engraving after Captain Robert Batty, 1823
  9. ^ Progress of the Bell Rock works (Plate ix); Apparatus connected with the Bell Rock works (Plate xi); General View of the Bell Rock works (Plate xviii)
  10. ^ Frontispiece
  11. ^ Clovelly Bay; Comb Martin; Portsmouth
  12. ^ Inverwick Castle engraving by William Miller after Rev J Thomson 1826; Bass Rock, engraving after Turner, 1826, Rawlinson 200; Fast Castle engraving by William Miller after Rev J Thomson 1826; Dirlton Castle engraving by William Miller after Rev J Thomson 1824;
  13. ^ Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat, engraving by William Miller (Miller paid £140-0-0 in xi-1826 for engraving), after H W Williams ('Grecian' Williams), Published by John Shepherd, 15 Princes Street, Edinburgh, 1826; Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat, engraved copper plate by William Miller (Miller paid £140-0-0 in xi-1826 for engraving), after H W Williams ('Grecian' Williams), Published by John Shepherd, 15 Princes Street, Edinburgh, 1826. The print was republished in 1846 by Shepherd and Elliott modified to include the National Monument and Scott Monument, with the omission of the parasol held by the woman in the foreground.
  14. ^ Illus. with numerous engraved plates and portraits, the landscapes from paintings made expressly for the work by D.O. Hill. Wilson, Professor and Chambers, Robert, Glasgow: Blackie & Son, 1840 Ayr from Brown Carrick Hill; Ayr Market Cross; Banks of Doon; Bruar Water Upper Fall; Cassilis Castle; Culzean Castle with the Fairy Coves; Dunure Castle Carrick Shore; Loch Turit
  15. ^ Edited by J.J. London: Thomas Nelson, Paternoster Row; and Edinburgh. 1840 Athens; Lake of Geneva;
  16. ^ Published By Authority. Burnet, John, [& others], Illustrated by John Burnet, George Cooke, George T. Doo, William Finden, Edward Goodall, John & Henry Le Keux, John Pye, John H. Robinson, et al. London: Published for the Associated Engravers By John Pye, 42 Cirencestor Place, Fitzroy Square. 1840 The Watering Place