Sanderson Miller, the eighteenth century architect famous for his sham castles at
Radway, Wimpole, and Hagley, as well as for his garden design, kept detailed diaries which have now been published for the first time
along with a catalogue of his architectural and landscape work, a memoir of James Menteath, and a 43-page biographical introduction.
The first diary opens in October 1749, with a description of Miller’s
private life that day - church, walk and visitors. The second and third days show him at
work on a fountain and a castle tower, with music and dancing in the evening. This fascinating juxtaposition of personal and public
life continues throughout. He completes two of his most important
commissions, the new Warwick Shire Hall and the Great Hall of Lacock
Abbey; he also loses his sister and his mother over these years.
concise entries detail the everyday life of a gentleman in the eighteenth
century, while dotted throughout are references to his personal connections
with key figures of the time: William Pitt the Elder and Lord North, for example.
The diaries have been edited by
William Hawkes, who provides an illuminating and enjoyable commentary on the
diaries, which he has translated from Miller's idiosyncratic
shorthand. Forty six illustrations, primarily of his architectural
works, accompany the text. They end in 1756, and from them emerges a picture of an "engaging and
likeable" man, whose creativity extended into every area of his life.
Not only will the general reader enjoy this glimpse into a past way of life, but the diaries will be invaluable to architectural and garden historians.
"Essential reading . . . Restores Miller's reputation as a pioneer of the
Gothick Revival . . . Any scholar of Miller, Georgian Gothic, and
eighteenth-century life will appreciate its worth." Michael Cousins,
Follies Magazine (2006).
"A model of its kind ... Hawkes paints an informative and delightful picture
of Miller's life ... A book that will usefully be consulted and referred to
by anyone interested in the life of the mid-eighteenth century." Nicholas
Cooper, Cake and Cockhorse (2006).
"Fascinating diaries, preceded by a scholarly and readable account of
Miller's life and work". Mairi Macdonald, Warwickshire Local History
"Meticulously and beautifully presented." Geoffrey Tyack, Georgian Group
"A magnificent volume of quite absorbing interest... a must-buy." Jeremy
Gibson, Banbury Local History Society.