Home > Artist Database > Bio-bibliographic Database > MILLER, Maria Frances Ann (Morris)

Artist Database

MILLER, Maria Frances Ann (Morris)

Guysborough, Nova Scotia, 1810
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, six 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 received favourable comment in the English press, and a new collection of her flower paintings was shown at the Paris Exposition of 1867. She continued as an advisor to her school until 1872, and passed away in 1875.
Media used
Mr. Eager's Drawing Academy (Halifax)
File & Archive locations
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, ON
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
University of British Columbia - Fine Arts Library
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
Winnipeg Art Gallery, MA - Clara Lander Library
Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC

Writings about
"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
Field, Richard H.. "Into the Wilderness: Rediscovering Titus Smith Jr’s Philosophy of Nature." Proceedings of the Nova Scotian Institute of Science 50.2 (2020): 351-372
Guildford, Janet. ""Whate'er the Duty of the Hour Demands": The Work of Middle-Class Women in Halifax, 1840-1880." Social History 30.59 (1997): 1-20
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.
Huneault, Kristina. I'm Not Myself at All: Women, Art, and Subjectivity in Canada. Montreal; Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2018
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
O'Neill, Mora, Dianne. "A Path to Learning: Early Nova Scotian Women Artists." Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Journal 39 (Spring/Summer 2012): 26
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
Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. Women's Art of the British Empire. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015
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

Full text pdfs of exhibition reviews
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition: (Ottawa, March 08, 1880) "Canadian Art. The Academy Exhibition."  Free Press (Ottawa)  March 08, 1880.  p.1-2.   Full-text pdf

Search by: