Petworth Window, 26 April 2000
Light, water dye destruction print2000
About the work
Quietly beautiful and dreamlike, this ethereal image of light streaming through a window forms part of a series made at Petworth House in West Sussex. From January to September 1999, Garry Fabian Miller was a visiting artist at this stately home where J. M. W. Turner had spent time and painted during the 1820s and 30s. During his residence, Miller meditated on an account of Turner’s death from a 2007 biography written by James Hamilton. On the morning of 19 December 1851 the aged artist is said to have been bathed in light: ‘the clouds began to break up and the sun came through and filled Turner’s bedroom and shone directly and brilliantly upon him.’
For the Petworth Windows series, Miller did not use a camera, but exposed light directly onto photographic paper. He allowed light from the windows to pass through water in a jar directly onto photosensitive paper, the convex surface of the water acting as a lens and focusing the light. Using a jar made from blue glass, he produced the ghostly blue colour of the images. For Petworth Window, 26 April 2000, Miller created the grid by encouraging more waves in the water. His technique is close to experiments made by the first photographers in the 1820s and 1830s, such as Henry Fox Talbot, who also created photographic images of the effect of light at windows.
About the artist
Garry Fabian Miller HonFRPS (b. 1957) is a British photographic artist. Since 1976, he has specialised in camera-less photography. The Victoria & Albert Museum have the largest holdings of his work spanning 30 years. Between 2014 – 2018 Miller worked with Dovecot Tapestry Studios, Edinburgh on a series of rugs and the tapestry, 'Voyage into the deepest darkest blue'. His interest and commitment to craft informed the exhibition 'Making, Thinking, Living' that he curated for the UK Crafts Study Centre in 2016. He was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 2017. In 2018, the Victoria and Albert Museum premiered his first film Last evenings, a reimagining of the Magic Lantern slide performances of the early 1800s, in collaboration with the composer and musician Oliver Coates, and the poet Alice Oswald. He has lived with his family on Dartmoor in the South West of England since 1989.
- Petworth Window, 26 April 2000
- Light, water dye destruction print
- height: 60.70 cm, width: 48.50 cm
- Purchased from Purdy Hicks Gallery, June 2001
- Purdy Hicks Gallery, London
- GAC number