BIRCH, Sarah

1855 - 1940

Sarah Birch, was born at North Wootton, Lynn, Norfolk on 29 January 1855, daughter of Benjamin Thomas Birch (1820-1893), brush manufacturer, and his wife Lucy née Royston (1822-1893), who married at North Wootton on 17 July 1843. In 1871, as Burch, a 16 year old on a visit to Hunstanton, Norfolk with her parents, 51 year old Benjamin and 49 year old Lucy, with her three sibling brothers, Benjamin 14 and twins Arthur and Edward 12. In 1881, her parents were living at Blackfriars Street, Kings Lynn, but with no children present, with a business noted in Kelly's Directory 'Birch & Son, brush manufacturer & fancy repository, 74 High Street, Lynn'. Sarah studied at Slade School of Art 1876-1883, amongst her tutors was Alphonse Legros (1837-1911). As Miss S. Birch, a member and exhibitor at the Ipswich Fine Art Club 1885-1886, when of 74 High Street, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, exhibiting in 1885, four works 'Edith-daughter of J. Toller, Esq.', 'Portrait of G. Rope, Esq.', 'Margie-daughter of J. Toler, Esq.' and 'Spare Moments', she also exhibited at the Royal Academy 1884-1898; The Grosvenor Gallery 1888; New London Gallery 1891; Society of British Artists and the Society of Medallists in 1885, showing at Brighton 1888-1892 and Croydon 1892-1994. Her parents retired to Brighton, Sussex where they both died and in 1901, Sarah was a 46 year old portrait painter, living at 1 Upper Coombe Street, Croydon, the home of her uncle Frederick Cambridge, a 60 year old organist & professor of music, and his family and whose 23 year old son John Cramner Cambridge, was tragically drowned at Brighton, later that year. In 1911, lodging with the family of Lawrence Gardener, beekeeper and landscape gardener, at 'The Apiary', 104 Wilbury Road, Letchworth Garden City, a house painted by artist Spencer Frederick Gore (1878-1914) in 1912, where she lived until about 1923. Sarah was commissioned by the philanthropist Juliet Reckitt (1870-1955) to produce at least nine pastel portraits of notable residents of early Letchworth which are in the Garden City Collection ( In 1939, she was living at 54 Litchfield Way, Finchley, Middlesex where she died on 21 October 1940, aged 85, she was unmarried. Her estate was proved at 1,116 6s 3d.

The subject of her illustrated painting is Millicent Vaughan (18 September 1866-11 August 1961) who married at Kensington, London in 1895, Vere Isham (10 May 1862-11 February 1941), who, in 1903, succeeded as 11th Bart., and the two eldest of their three children were born at Nether Street, Great Barton, Bury St Edmund's, Suffolk. The picture is on show at Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire.

Works by This Artist