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William Russell Birch and Thomas Birch


WILLIAM RUSSELL BIRCH (1755-1834). Self Portrait. Oil on Ivory. Miniature, 2-5/8" x 2". Inscription on back: "Louisa S. Birch from her father November 24, (18)18." Courtesy of The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore

WILLIAM RUSSELL BIRCH was born in Warwickshire, England April 9, 1755. He studied at Bristol and London and frequently exhibited in London. In 1794, he emigrated to America with his family and settled in Philadelphia. He is best known for his miniature and enamel portraits and this series of Views of Philadelphia which he worked on with his son Thomas and published in 1799-1800. His work was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy, the Society of Artists, the Artists' Fund Society, the Maryland Historical Society, the American Academy and Apollo Association. He died in Philadelphia.on August 7, 1834 at the age of seventy-nine.


THOMAS BIRCH (1779-1851). By John Neagle (1796-1865) Title: "The Studious Artist." Date 1836. Oil on canvas 30-1/8" x 25-1/16". Courtesy of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. Gift of John Frederick Lewis

THOMAS BIRCH, son of William Russell Birch, was born in England 1779 and emigrated with his father to Philadelphia in 1794 and spent the rest of his life living and working there. Under his father's direction he prepared the drawings for this series of Views of Philadelphia. He was especially recognized for his paintings of the War of 1812 naval engagements and for his marine and winter scenes. During his lifetime his work was frequently exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy (curator in 1811), the Society of Artists, the Artists Fund Society, the National Academy (honorary member), the American Academy and the American Art Union. He died on January 14, 1851 at the age of seventy-one.