Lee Miller is best remembered nowadays as a war photographer, a chronicler of the misery of defeat and destruction that was Europe in 1944 and 1945, its inhabitants wretched, its roads clogged with refugees searching for their homes. ‘Germany is a beautiful landscape’, Miller wrote in one of her reportages for Vogue, ‘dotted with jewel-like villages, blotched with ruined cities, and inhabited by schizophrenics.’ But perhaps most remembered of all is a photograph not by her but of her, sitting in Hitler’s bath in Berlin the day he committed suicide, her muddy boots on his clean bath mat. These pictures, and many more, are the subject of a superb new collection of Miller’s photographs, along with portraits of her by both painters and photographers, put together by Hilary Roberts and introduced by her son, Antony Penrose.
Miller had many lives, some of them sad. The daughter of an American engineer and amateur photographer, who took pictures of her naked until she was twenty, she was raped and infected with gonorrhoea when she was seven. She was an exceptionally beautiful young woman and as a nineteen-year-old art