Study for 'The Mersey'
Born in 1869, Samuel John Birch was largely self-taught as an artist, except for a brief spell of study in Paris at the Académie Colarossi in 1895. Birch first visited west Cornwall in the late 1880s and settled in the Lamorna Valley in 1892. He fell in love with the landscape of the valley and, at the suggestion of Stanhope Forbes, adopted "Lamorna" as his sobriquet. This was also to distinguish him from Lionel Birch who was active as an artist in the region at that time. Birch is regarded as a father figure of the second flowering of the Newlyn School. The school included, among others, Laura and Harold Knight, Alfred Munnings, Frank Gascoigne Heath, Stanley Gardiner, and Dod Proctor. This group later became known as the Lamorna Group. Birch became a Royal Academician in 1932 and exhibited more than 200 works at the RA, as well as around the country and abroad.