Samuel John Lamorna Birch

Samuel John Lamorna Birch
Though he studied for a short time at an atelier in Paris, English painter Samuel John “Lamorna” Birch was mostly a self taught artist.

Birch was one of the earliest of the second wave of “Newlyn School” artists, a group that included Alfred J. Munnings, Stanley Gardner and Laura and Harold Knight.

Birch is often known as simply Lamorna Birch. He took the name from the Lamorna Valley in Cornwall, where he painted frequently. The name was the suggestion of artist Stanhope Forbes, with the thought that it would set Birch apart from the already established artist Lionel Birch who also painted in Newlyn.

In addition to his many paintings of the cove at Lamorna, Birch had a fascination with small streams, in particular in portraying the surface expression of their currents and eddies in a way that puts me in mind of the wonderful Norwegian painter Frits Thaulow.

There is a book about Birch and the artists around him, A Painter Laureate: Lamorna Birch & his Circle, but I don’t think it’s illustrated.

The best online image source I’ve found for Lamorna Birch is the BBC’s Your Paintings. Click on the main images for slightly larger versions.

4 Replies to “Samuel John Lamorna Birch”

  1. I live in Lamorna and his grandson still lives here and their whole family paints. The place is still very much the same and is still as beautiful today. There is very much a large artistic community which thrives in the area to this day.

    Nice piece with some wonderful examples.

  2. I looked at all the pictures and started reading, assuming this was a living contemporary realist. I thought –man, this guy has been looking at Fritz Thaulow. Only by the second paragraph I realized he was working a century ago or so. It made me think about how realist painting is truly timeless. Also, self-taught artists are harder to pin down to a time period because they’re often freer of convention.

  3. I have a print of his work, “The Tag In June”. An I don’t know how to find it’s worth but it’s in an original frame for it. Anyone have any suggestions?

Comments are closed.