For the Love of Art
By Kelly Beswick
He discovered a passion for collecting art at 17, and despite pursuing a career in law, Henry Miller couldn’t shake off the feeling he was in the wrong job. Finally he decided to follow his dream and set up an art business, using his own Walthamstow home as a gallery. Here he reveals why he couldn’t be happier
You’ve heard of living above the shop, well Henry Miller takes the concept a stage further and actually lives in the shop, so to speak, with his stunning E17 Victorian pile now doubling up as an elegant gallery where he sells fine art, specialising in the male form. Whereas many might feel having potential customers traipsing through their home somewhat intrusive, Henry doesn’t mind in the slightest.
“It’s really very nice having people coming round,” he says. “We’ll have a chat and a coffee and then I’ll give them the tour. It’s a lot less intimidating than a conventional gallery and they get to see what the pictures look like in situ. Besides, I’d much rather be sitting in my own home than paying for a gallery space.”
It’s been a long and interesting path that has taken Miller to this point, and one that began as a teenager, when he discovered an enthusiasm for buying art. “I was working in the city at the time, so had a bit of cash to spare and the thing that gave me the greatest pleasure was spending it on paintings,” he recalls. “I have no idea where this love of art came from, none of my family were that way inclined, but once bitten, I just knew it would become a lifelong passion”.
As indeed it so evidently has, but before he could dedicate his life to it, a career as a lawyer beckoned. 15 years later and jaded by the 70 to 80 hour weeks, he jacked it in to take a Masters in Fine Art at Christies. “The course enlivened something in me that had been dormant for ages,” he says. “It made me think ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to do something with this now’.”
And ‘do something’ he did, forming Henry Miller Fine Art on the strength of this conviction. “It’s still early days, but following a dream is an amazing experience,” he says. “Buying and selling paintings doesn’t feel like work. I’m doing something I absolutely love and feel passionate about and for that I am incredibly lucky.”