June Miles was an outstanding landscape and still life painter, with a soft, gentle but vividly colourful palette. Her exhibitions represented work carried out not only in Cornwall, but also in France, where she and her late husband Paul MOUNT maintained a second home. Both her daughters, Helen FEILER and Christine FEILER, are also artists of greatly refined sensitivity: Helen with her jewellery and textiles, and Christine with her porcelain and ceramic exhibition pieces.
June was born in London, the daughter of William Miles, a Royal Marine engineer, and his wife Constance (nee Temple). She spent the first six years of life near Hong Kong. She gained a place at the Slade School of Art at the age of 17, where she studied painting under Randolph Schwabe. During WWII she drew maps for the Admiralty Drawing Office.
The artist was the first wife of painter Paul FEILER, and the couple moved to Bristol where their three children (Anthony, Helen and Christine) were born. She moved to Cornwall when the couple separated, though she continued to teach at Bristol Polytechnic and the Folk House in Bristol. An superb portraitist, she displayed an unwavering drive and determination that sustained her work and prevented her qualities as a painter from being overshadowed by marriages to two well-established artists.
In 1978 she married the sculptor Paul MOUNT and together they had studios in St Just-in-Penwith, where they also lived. At that stage June became fascinated with still life, one of the two major dedicated themes of her working life along with the landscapes. She worked directly on her canvases, letting them evolve as she worked, without using sketches.
June was a medallist at the Women's International Art Club in Paris (1968) and her work is in permanent collections in the Plymouth and Bristol City art galleries, and in the Royal West of England Academy (RWA). She had a long series of solo shows including at the RWA, the Beaux Arts Gallery in Bath, Newlyn Gallery, Penwith Gallery, and Lemon Street Gallery in Truro.
In a review in The Cornishman in 2004, Frank Ruhrmund wrote: '... there is a sense of peace in her work that passes all understanding ... An artist who has never courted publicity, never owned a trumpet of her own let alone blown it, June Miles must be one of the most retiring, unassuming and consequently one of the most underrated of the many artists practising in Penwith.'
Paul Mount died in 2009. June Miles was known for her exceptional warmth and steady kindness to family and friends. She died, aged 96, in 2021.
Painter of landscapes, flowers and still life in all media, mainly oils
works and access
Access to work: Hypatia Collection of Women's Art
Consistently with the Penwith Society of Artists
'Painters in Cornwall 1960', (selected) Plymouth City Art Gallery
NAG: Solo 1976
NAG Newlyn in Pont Aven 1977
1986: RCM & RIC Three Spires Festival Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture and Pottery, Truro (Opening of the RCM or County Art Gallery, by the Royal Institution of Cornwall)
1988: Art Share, for Newlyn Educational projects
NSA 1972-3 list
Penwith Society of Artists
Brittain, Sarah and Cook, Simon (2001) Behind the Canvas, 40 Artists working in West Cornwall;
Hardie (1995) 100 Years in Newlyn/Diary of a Gallery
McLeod, Alister J (1973) Newlyn Society of Artists 1895-1973 (NAG 12 page brochure)
The Guardian 25 May 2021: June Miles obituary, by her son Anthony Feiler