Relatively little is known of this early topographer who executed charming topographical views of London, Richmond and Chatham from 1773. The present drawing shows Miller's meticulous attention to detail, the clarity of his draughstmanship and his ability to convey form as well as atmosphere.
Charing Cross, by which our ancestors meant the three-sided place where the Strand, Whitehall and Cockspur Street met was the hub of the West End long before Piccadilly Circus existed. In the centre, Herbert le Sueur's statue of King Charles I stands, erected in 1675 on the site of one of the twelve medieval 'Eleanor Crosses' which gave the place its name. The statue of King Charles I was made for Lord Treasurer Weston. It was intended for his house at Roehampton but was never taken there. It survived the Commonwealth, and after a long legal battle over its ownership was placed in its present position, seen in the present watercolour, looking towards the site of Charles' execution.
This view shows Northumberland House on the right, the early 17th Century London home of the Earls of Northampton. It was remodelled in 1749 and despite protests, demolished in 1874 for the laying out of Northumberland Avenue. The statue, obstructs the view of the western end of the Strand. The building on the left of the picture, is the Golden Cross Inn, from, which, according to Dickens, Mr Pickwick and his friends left in the Commodore coach to Rochester on the start of their travels. It was rebuilt early in the 19th Century but demolished in the 1830s, together with the adjacent buildings, as part of the development that lead to the creation of Trafalgar Square. To its right, the building with a pediment was for years a well-known lottery office run by Thomas Bish.
We are grateful to Charles Hind for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.