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Design - Design for municipal sunken gardens
  • Design for municipal sunken gardens
    Miller, William, born 1828 - died 1909
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Design for municipal sunken gardens

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain, United Kingdom (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1908 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Miller, William, born 1828 - died 1909 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and watercolour

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

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.

Physical description

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.

Place of Origin

Great Britain, United Kingdom (made)


ca. 1908 (made)


Miller, William, born 1828 - died 1909 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and watercolour

Marks and inscriptions

W. Miller F.R.H.S. Landscape Gardener Berkswell
statue jet d'eau [etc]


Height: 96.4 cm, Width: 65.2 cm

Descriptive line

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

Exhibition History

Mapping the Imagination (Victoria and Albert Museum 03/10/2007-24/04/2008)

Labels and date

Miller was a noted designer of parks and gardens. As is evident in this plan, his approach to design emphasised the decorative pattern of the layout rather than the three-dimensional aspect of the garden. [2007]

Subjects depicted



Gardens & Gardening; Designs

Collection code


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