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 Maria Francis Morris Miller  (1813 - 1875)



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Lived/Active: Nova Scotia / Canada      Known for: teaching and watercolor painting-botanics, lithographs

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Maria Frances Morris is primarily known as Maria Francis Morris Miller

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The folloiwng information is from the Canadian Women Artist History Initiative,
Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1813
Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1875

Biography synopsis

Maria Morris was known for botanical works. She studied art in Halifax with JE Acres, WH Jones and Prof L'Estrange and later taught there, beginning in 1830. In 1836 she was toasted as "Painter of the Year" by the North British Society. By 1840, 6 of her botanical paintings were published as a series of hand-coloured lithographs (Wild Flowers of Nova Scotia), with habitat notes by Titus Smith, Secretary of Agriculture for the province. This first publishing venture was under the patronage of Sir Colin Campbell, lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia.

She married Garrett TN Miller in 1841, but in 1850 was teaching in Saint John and had re-opened her school in Halifax by 1852. Dr Alexander Forrester, Secretary of Agriculture and head of the Normal School, provided the scientific notations for the second set of six lithographs under the same title in 1853, and Prof George Lawson, founder of the Botanical Society of Canada, for the third series (Wild Flowers of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) in 1866.

Although her drawings had arrived too late for the judges' consideration at the 1862 International Exhibition in London, they recieved favourable comment in the English press, and a new collection of her flower paintings was shown at the Paris Expostition of 1867. She continued to advise her school until 1872, and passed away in 1875.

Media used

File & Archive locations
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts - Library and Archives
National Archives of Canada - Documentary Art Library
National Gallery of Canada - Library and Archives
University of British Columbia - Fine Arts Library
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

"The Man About Town." Novascotian (Halifax) 19 Jan. 1837: 1.
Barnard, Elissa. "Collector of Light: Quebec's Maurice Duplesis..." Halifax Herald Limited 13 Jul. 2003.
Barnard, Elissa. "Our Audubon: Morris faithfully reproduced NS field flowers' splendor and flaws." Sunday Herald (Halifax) 10 Jan. 1999: B2.
Burant, Jim. "Art in Halifax: Exhibitions and Criticism in 1830-1831." RACAR 8.2 (1981): 119-36.
Canadian National Exhibition. Contemporary Art of Canada and Newfoundland: Collection of the International Business Machines Corporation. New York: IBM Corporation, 1940.
Carter, Alexandra E. "William H. Eagar: Drawing Master of Argyle Street, Halifax." Journal of Canadian Art History 7.2 (1984): 138-55.
Colgate, William. Canadian Art, its Origin and Development. Toronto: Ryerson, 1943.
Davies, Gwendolyn. "Private Education for Women in Early Nova Scotia 1784-1894." Atlantis 20.1 (Fall-Winter 1995): 9-19.
Dickenson, Victoria. First Impressions: European Views of the Natural History of Canada from the 16th to the 19th Century. Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 1992.
Dignam, Mary Ella. "Canadian Women in the Development of Art." Women of Canada: Their Life and Work. Toronto: National Council of Women of Canada, 1900.
English, John, ed. Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online Ottawa: Libraries and Archives Canada, 2008
Farr, Dorothy and Luckyj, Natalie. From Women's Eyes: Women Painters in Canada. Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 1975.
Guildford, Janet. "Maria Morris Miller: The Many Functions of her Art." Atlantis 20.1 (1995): 113-23.
Guildford, Mary. "Artist in Bloom." Sunday Herald (Halifax) 7 Oct. 2001: C8.
Harper, J. Russell. Painting in Canada: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966, 2nd edition 1977.
Harvey, Mary MacKay. "Gardens of Shelburne Nova Scotia 1785-1820." Bulletin of the Association for Preservation of Technology 7.2 (1975) 45-6.
Howe, Joseph. "The Fine Arts" Novascotian (Halifax) 15 September, 1836: 291..
MacDonald, Colin S.. The Dictionary of Canadian Artists. (Volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker) Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2009
MacLaren, George. "Early Nova Scotia Artist: Maria Morris." Canadian Antique Collector 4.5 (May 1969): 22-3.
McKendry, Blake. A to Z of Canadian Art: Artists and Art Terms. Kingston: B. McKendry, 1997.
Morgan, Henry J. Bibliotheca Canadensis or a Manual of Canadian Literature. Ottawa: 1867.
Nutt, Elzabeth Styring. "An Incident in the Golden Age of Fine Art in Nova Scotia." Journal of Education (Feb. 1932): 71-5.
O'Neill, Mora Dianne. Maria Morris Miller: Growing Flowers on Stone Halifax: Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 1998.
Petteys, Chris, et al. Dictionary of Women Artists: An International Dictionary of Women Artists Born Before 1900. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1985.
Piers, Harry. "Artists in Nova Scotia." Nova Scotia Historical Society Collection 18 (1914): 101-65.
Sparling, Mary. The British Vision in Nova Scotia, 1749-1848: What views the artist reflected and reinforced. Halifax: Dalhousie University, 1978.
Sparling, Mary. Women's Work: A Selection of work by 4 significant Nova Scotia artists. Halifax: Mount Saint Vincent University, 1981.
Sparling, Mary. "Nova Scotia Women and the Ornamental Branches." Great Expectations: the European Vision in Nova Scotia: 1749-1848. Halifax: Mount Saint Vincent University, 1980: 53-72.
Sparling, Mary. "The Lighter Auxiliaries": Women Artists in Nova Scotia in the early Nineteenth Century. Atlantis 5.1 (Fall 1979): 83-106.
Tippett, Maria. By a Lady. Toronto: Viking, 1992.
Tucker, W. Bowman. The Romance of the Palatine Millers: A Tale of the Palatine Irish-Americans and United Empire Loyalists. Montreal: Southham Press, 1929.
Tweedie, R. A., et al., eds. Arts in New Brunswick. Fredericton: Brunswick Press, 1967.

        Writings By:
          Miller, Maria E. Wild Flowers of Nova Scotia. Halifax: C.H. Belcher, 1840.
          Miller, Mrs. Wild Flowers of British North America. London: Reeve and Co, 1867.
          Miller, Mrs. Wild Flowers of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Halifax: ML Katzman,                 John Snow, Paternoster Row, 1866.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter and teacher in Halifax, Canada, Maria Miller advertised her Drawing Academy, where she would teach young women "figures in watercolour; on paper or ivory in pencil or chalk; landscape; in pencil, chalk or watercolour: flowers, fruuit, birds, and shells on velvet, satin or paper." 

Maria Tippett, By A LadyCelebrating Three Centuries of Art by Canadian Women, p. 5

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