DescriptionSAMUEL JOHN LAMORNA BIRCH (British, 1869-1955)
October Green and Gold in Alyth, Pertshire, 1945
Oil on canvas
20 x 25 inches (50.8 x 63.5 cm)
Signed and dated lower left: S.J. Lamona Birch, 1945
Titled on the reverse
Samuel John Lamorna Birch was born on June 7, 1869 in Egremont, Cheshire. He was a bonafide landscape master, painting canvases that were well received in Canada and the United States, as well as several British cities. Apart from a brief period of study at the Atelier Colarossi, Paris, in 1895, he was largely self-taught as an artist. Birch first visited West Cornwall in the late 1880s and settled in the Lamorna Valley in 1892. At the suggestion of fellow artist Stanhope Forbes, Birch adopted the soubriquet "Lamorna" to distinguish himself from Lionel Birch, also an artist.
Birch is regarded as the father figure of the later group of 'Newlyn' artists, which included Laura and Harold Knight and Alfred Munnings, forming a second artists' colony in the Lamorna Valley, often referred to as the Lamorna group. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1892. He held his first one man exhibition at the Fine Art Society in 1906. Birch was elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy (ARA) in 1924 and was made a full Royal Academician (RA) eight years later. In his long and distinguished career, he exhibited over 200 works at the Royal Academy, as well as exhibiting throughout the country and abroad. Today his work can be seen in the Tate Museum, London. The exhibition Shades of British Impressionism, Lamorna Birch and his Circle was shown at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery in the Mezzanine in October 2004, and detailed 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 colour and light, truth and social realism brought about a revolution in British art." says the catalogue for the show.
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