Samuel John “Lamorna” Birch, RA, RWS (7 June 1869 – 7 January 1955) was an English artist in oils and watercolours. At the suggestion of fellow artist Stanhope Forbes, Birch adopted the soubriquet “Lamorna” to distinguish himself from Lionel Birch, an artist who was also working in the area at that time.
Lamorna Birch was born in Egremont, Cheshire, England. He was self-taught as an artist, other than for a brief period of study at the Académie Colarossi in Paris during 1895.
Birch settled in Lamorna, Cornwall in 1892 where many of his most famous pictures date from 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. He held his first one man exhibition at the Fine Art Society in 1906. He is said to have 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 colour and light, truth and social realism brought about a revolution in British art.” says the catalogue for the show.
Birch has paintings at Penlee House and in the collection of Derby Art Gallery.