Back in London Lee must come to terms with what she left behind. Her relationship with Roland is souring because of his long absence, and she is increasingly nervous and agitated. Her body is changing and the marks of her years in the war are now evident, but the couple happily manages to reconcile.
In the summer of 1946, they embark on a trip to America: they travel to Poughkeepsie to meet Lee’s family, to New York where Vogue holds a party in his honour, to Arizona to the home of his friend Max Ernest and the painter Dorothea Tanning, and finally to Los Angeles where they meet his brother Erik, his sister-in-law and Man Ray.
It was a very happy time: Roland buys a new house in the country, Farley Farm, which becomes a favorite destination for artists, critics and literati, as well as housing his rich collection of contemporary art; their son Antony is born; and Lee devotes more and more time to the house and garden.
Shoots for Vogue becomes sporadic, and cooking becomes Lee’s new passion, so much so that she is recognized as a cook internationally, winning numerous culinary competitions.
The only photographs she takes during this period are portraits of friends engaged in extravagant activities at Farley Farm; a rich collection of images that is published in Vogue in 1953 under the title Working Guests, the last article of Lee Miller’s career as a journalist.
In the years that followed, Lee contributed her work as a photographer to the illustrations of two important biographies written by Roland Penrose, which became milestones in art history: the one on Picasso and the one on Tapies. Her works are also included in “The Family of Man,” an exhibition at New York’s MoMA that enshrines the canons of photography.
But Lee’s days of taking penetrating photographs are long gone, and one evening while having dinner with her friend Tanja Ramm he confesses to her, “They just told me I have cancer. I don’t feel like talking about it, but I know it won’t last long.” The decline is indeed swift and Lee Miller dies on July 21st of 1977.