Design

Design for municipal sunken gardens

ca. 1908 (made)

Miller, William

Height: 96.4 cm, Width: 65.2 cm

E.810-1979 PDP

Design for municipal sunken gardens, by William Miller (1828-1909); Great Britain, ca. 1908

Plan of a garden in pale watercolour washes, with a symmetrical layout. A serpentine path encloses a central area with parterres, fountain mounds walks and oval flower beds. Scale 1 inch to 20 feet.

William Miller had started as a gardener’s boy, rather like Joseph Paxton (1801-1865), designer of the Crystal Palace. By the end of his career he had become an important designer of large parks and gardens; around 1900 he set up his own garden design business in Berkswell, Coventry. He often adopted the ‘S’ shape, a line of beauty thought to be inherent in all successful works of art. This idea had been popularised by the artist William Hogarth (1697-1764), who published a treatise called The Analysis of Beauty in 1753. Miller approached his tasks like a decorative pattern maker, rather than someone working in three dimensions. The garden incorporated parterres, statues, fountains raised on mounds, flower beds and paths, as well as administrative buildings and lavatories.

Location: Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case LD, shelf 7

View this object on the V&A website