Lamorna Birch (1869-1955)

Samuel John Lamorna Birch

Samuel John Lamorna Birch

Samuel John Lamorna Birch was an English artist in oils and watercolors. At the suggestion of fellow artist Stanhope Forbes, Birch adopted the nickname “Lamorna” to distinguish himself from Lionel Birch, who was an artist also working in the area at that time.

He was born in Cheshire, United Kingdom. Birch was self-taught artist, besides for a brief period of study at the Académie Colarossi in Paris during 1895. He settled in Lamorna, Cornwall in 1892. Many of his most famous pictures are dated by this time and the beautiful Lamorna Cove is usually their subject matter. He was attracted to Cornwall by the Newlyn group of artists but he ended up starting a second group based around his adopted home of Lamorna.

He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1893, was elected as an Associate (ARA) in 1926 and made a Royal Academician (RA) in 1934, and showed more than two hundred paintings there. He held his first one-man exhibition at the Fine Art Society in 1906 and there is opinion, that he produced more than 20,000 pictures. Like a number of his contemporaries, he was profiled as an ‘Artist of Note’ in The Artist magazine, by Richard Seddon, in the June 1944 edition.

The exhibition Shades of British Impressionism Lamorna Birch and his Circle was shown at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery in the Mezzanine in October 2004. This details his links with Henry Scott Tuke and Thomas Cooper Gotch and many others who settled in the artists’ colony in the 1880s and 1890s. “These painters helped to change the face of British art. Their emphasis on color and light, truth and social realism brought about a revolution in British art.” tells the catalogue for the show.

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