Alec Miller - Sculptor (1879 – 1961)
Alec Miller was born and brought up in a three-roomed tenement
in Glasgow, one of a family of six. His father was a cabinetmaker
who could only work intermittently because of ill health. Alec left
school at the age of twelve and was apprenticed to a Mrs. Mackay
who ran a woodcarving shop in Glasgow. Besides being his employer
she was also a most important mentor to him, opening his eyes to
the artistic world beyond Glasgow, and in particular the work of CR
Ashbee and his Guild of Handicraft. Eventually he joined Ashbee and
the Guild, after it had moved from the East End of London to
Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire.
Ashbee ran an architectural practice alongside the Guild and
this led to many useful contacts for Miller, so that when the Guild
had closed in 1908 he was able to continue working from Campden. In
1937 Miller emigrated to the United States having already made a
number of trips both to fulfill commissions and to lecture on a
wide range of subjects.
Most of Miller’s work initially was ecclesiastical and
included much work for Coventry Cathedral (all destroyed by the
Blitz), Montreal Cathedral, and many other churches all over
England. However from about 1915 onwards he made increasing numbers
of portrait busts and reliefs.
Essentially Miller was a carver, both in wood and stone. He
worked directly not choosing to make models first. For this reason
his work for the Coronation Hall is unique.