Miss Fillis and child, and Bill, sold at publick sale in May 12th, Christiansburg, Montgomery County
Lewis Miller, Sketchbook of Landscapes in the State of Virginia, 1853-1867. Courtesy, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia; slide 83-167c.
This watercolor shows a mother holding her infant, an adult male by her side and white men bidding at the slave auction. Written on the auction block: [Bill] sold for 800 and Fillis for 600. Lewis Miller (1796-1882) was a native of Pennsylvania, a carpenter and often visited his brother in Virginia. His watercolors are rare because he depicted enslaved people. According to the Encyclopedia Virginia, "His pictures are also valued for their relative emotional detachment and credibility, for Miller fancied himself a recorder, not an agitator, activist, or commentator."
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