Samuel John Birch

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Samuel John Birch RA (born June 7, 1869 in Egremont , Cheshire , † January 7, 1955 in Lamorna , Cornwall ) was a British late Impressionist painter and an important representative of the Newlyn School , an artist colony of the late 19th and early 20th centuries . He is best known under the stage name Lamorna Birch . Aside from brief studies at the Académie Colarossi in Paris in 1895, Birch was self-taught and did his own painting studies in self-tuition.

Birch is regarded as a painter of northern England, but his most important creative period was when he settled in the small town of Lamorna in the south-west English county of Cornwall in 1902 . Many of his famous paintings date from this period and usually show views of Lamorna Bay. At the suggestion of fellow painter Stanhope Forbes , Birch adopted the stage name Lamorna Birch to differentiate himself from Lionel Birch , who was also a painter from the area.

Birch was also the mentor and father figure of the Lamorna Group , a group of Newlyn School artists including Stanley Gardiner , Frank Gascoigne Heath , Harold Knight , Laura Knight , Charles Naper, and Ella Naper , who formed a second artist colony in the early 20th century Lamorna Valley.

Birch first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1892 and received his first solo exhibition in 1906 at the Fine Art Society . Birch was elected an associate member of the Royal Academy in 1926 and became a full member eight years later. In his long and remarkable career, he has exhibited more than 200 works at the Royal Academy and has been honored in a variety of exhibitions across the country and outside of England.

Lamorna Birch probably created more than 20,000 pictures in his life, which are still traded at auctions and sold in galleries today. Some paintings are in the Penlee House in Penzance .

Samuel John Birch was married to Emily Houghton Birch, who occasionally exhibited as a landscape painter . They had several children, including Joan Houghton Birch, who later married Joan Paxton-Petty. She also worked as a landscape painter and emigrated to Australia after the Second World War .


  • Austin Wormleighton: A Painter Laureate: Lamorna Birch & his Circle , Sansom & Company Ltd. 2007, ISBN 1-872971-49-0

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Database entry of the Royal Academy of Arts , accessed April 14, 2013