Samuel John Birch was largely self-taught as an artist.
After visiting West Cornwall in the late 1880s, he settled in the Lamorna Valley in 1892. In 1895 he added Lamorna to his name to distinguish himself from the arist Lionel Birch.
He is regarded as the father figure of the later group of Newlyn artists and to the artists that became known as the Lamorna group.
In 1924 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy (ARA); in 1932 he was made a full Royal Academician (RA). Through his long career he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy.
Birch visited New Zealand in 1937 and was the first Royal Academician to make that journey. His visit was not altogether trouble free, although he did produce some varied and interesting work.
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