Miers, William

Date and place of birth:
27 June 1793, London, England
Date and place of death:
22 August 1863
(fl) c 1823-1829, c 1832-1837
Known places of work:
Known techniques:
Disputed – perhaps painted on paper
Known materials:
Disputed – perhaps paper


Interestingly, William Miers is not thought to have painted any profiles himself, even though he described himself as a profilist on one of his trade labels. Instead it is commonly believed he employed profilists to make copies of duplicates he owned of his father John Miers’ work. This interpretation is however not accepted by all.

William Miers was chiefly a goldsmith, frame maker and engraver. He was the son of the famous silhouette artist John Miers. During the years 1823-1829 he worked in partnership with John Field at 111 Strand, primarily as a frame maker. However, when this partnership faltered he set out on his own as an engraver, as described on his first known trade label. During 1832-1837 William Miers described himself on his trade labels as a profilist. However McKechnie believes that even though profiles emanated from Mier’s gallery, these were copies of his father’s work made by other profilists in his employ such as Charles Hervé II. This interpretation is though not universally accepted and indeed quite difficult to verify.

The profiles in question which came from Miers’ gallery include a profile of black watercolour on a grey background, one bronzed silhouette on card, and two silhouettes painted on ivory. The style of each is very obviously different, though some have strong similarities to the work of Charles Hervé II, himself an accomplished copyist, which strengthens the ‘copy’ theory. Overall, it is very difficult to know much about William Miers’ alleged career as a profilist, accept that he appears to have taken full advantage of his illustrious heritage as the son of the celebrated John Miers.

Additional research about William Miers:

Source: McKechnie (Author of, British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860)

Miers, William (McKechnie Section 2)
Miers, William (McKechnie Section 5)