ANNIE MILLER 1835-1925
The daughter of a footsoldier, Miller grew up in poverty in the back streets of Chelsea, close to Holman Hunt’s studio. Aged 18 she posed for the figure of a remorseful ‘fallen woman’ in his The Awakening Conscience. Hunt then paid for her to be educated in literacy and ladylike manners as a suitable wife.
During Hunt’s travels in Egypt and Syria in 1854-6 she posed for John Millais, D.G.Rossetti. Arthur Hughes, Charles Collins and others. ‘She is a good girl and behaves herself very properly’, Millais reported.
In 1859, Hunt ended their engagement on the grounds of Annie’s ‘wilfulness’ and frivolity. He offered assisted emigration, which she rejected in favour of modelling. ‘She looks more beautiful than ever’, noted George Boyce.
When she encountered Rossetti at the International Exhibition in 1862, she was with ‘rather a swell’ and looking very handsome. Her escort was an officer in the Volunteer reserve forces related to Lord Ranelagh named Thomas Thompson. He and Annie married in 1863. With a son and a daughter the couple moved to Richmond and then the south coast, where Annie died at age 90.