April 4: Eleazer Hutchinson Miller (1921)

A Group of Willows Etching, Eleazer Hutchison Miller National Gallery of Art

A native of Shepherdstown, VA (now WV), Eleazer H. Miller was the sixth of ten children. At the age of five, he manifested a talent for drawing, which his family encouraged. By the age of fifteen, he was painting portraits. At the age of seventeen, he left Shepherdstown for Washington, D.C. to study for an artistic career. Miller became a pupil of the Academy of Drawing and Painting kept by a Mr. Gibson, the only school of drawing in Washington at the time. Early on, Miller adopted portrait painting as a specialty. In the nation’s capital, he found many notable patrons among the public men of the nation. Miller became a skillful illustrator of books and also took up the difficult art of etching during a time of its revival.

In 1859, Eleazer Miller married Mary Farnham, whose family had been associated with Epiphany since its early days. Mary was baptized there as a child. Following their marriage, all six of the Miller children were baptized at Epiphany. The sponsor at the 1866 baptism of their fourth child, Arthur Peale Miller, was Titian Peale, a fellow artist and friend of Miller’s. Today, Miller’s works are housed in many fine museums, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Eleazer Hutchinson Miller’s obituary at the age of 90 hailed him as “the first artist of national reputation to establish his home and studio in Washington.”

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