George Francis Miles was born c. 1852, the son of a rector. He received his schooling at home, where he was taught by his father. By 1874 he had gone to Oxford, though not as an undergraduate, and around this time met Oscar Wilde
, who was his friend as well as rumoured lover. Also during this time he first spotted Lillie Langtry at the theatre, and later the pair were introduced by a mutual friend. He later introduced her to Wilde, as well as other members of London
high society. Langtry posed for one of his paintings, her first experience as an artists model. Miles also painted portraits for Daisy Grenville, Countess of Warwick, George and Ida Sitwell, and the Princesses Victoria, Maud and Louise.
The extent of the relationship between Wilde and Miles is unclear. If the allegations that the pair were lovers is true, then this suggests that Miles was bisexual, as he was known to be interested many of the women, both ladies and working girls, that he painted. In either case he and Wilde shared rooms for a few years after 1878 at Tite Street in Chelsea. Miles paid for the rooms with the allowance given to him by his father, as well as commissions for his work. In the 1881 Wilde is listed as merely a boarder in the house. As well Miles, who had numerous connections in the upper echelons, was instrumental in introducing Wilde to many members of London society.
In 1887 Miles was committed to an asylum near Bristol, called Brislington House. The exact reasons for his committal are unclear, but was probably neurosyphilis. He remained there for the next four years, until his death in 1891. The cause of death was given as a combination of "general paralysis of the insane", pneumonia and exhaustion. He was 39 at the time of his death.
Jack the Ripper
The theory that Frank Miles was Jack the Ripper
was first presented in 2008, in Thomas Toughill's book The Ripper Code
. However, at the time of the murders Miles was being held in an asylum over 120 miles away from Whitechapel
. He had symptoms that included dementia and seizures, as well as disfigurement. The chances of him escaping from and returning to the asylum without attracting notice seem slim. Finally, he matches neither the most widely accepted description of the Ripper, nor the FBI
profile that has been compiled about the killer. This theory is therefore widely dismissed.