BIRCH, Sarah

1855 - 1940

Sarah Birch was born at North Wootton, Lynn, Norfolk on 29 January 1855, daughter of Benjamin Thomas Birch (30 December 1819-24 January 1893), brush manufacturer, and his wife Lucy née Royston (21 May 1821-1893), youngest daughter of William Royston of North Wootton, who married at North Wootton on 17 July 1843. In 1871, as Sarah 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 Fine Art 1876-1883, and 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; Grosvenor Gallery 1888; New London Gallery 1891; Royal Society Of British Artists and the Society of Medallists in 1885. 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 when the head of the house was 65-year-old unmarried photographer Lydia Gay. The philanthropist Juliet Reckitt (1870-1955) commissioned Sarah to produce at least nine pastel portraits of notable residents of early Letchworth which are in the Garden City Collection ( In 1939, Sarah Birch 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.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from 21 Howland Street, West London
1884 1360 Francesco - etching
from c/o Stannard, 30 Great Russell Street, London
1887 766 Evelyn, daughter of Sir Robert Cunliffe, Bart.
1888 737 Violet Margaret Cambridge
from 44 Queen's Park Road, Brighton
1890 101 A French Fisher-Girl
1891 790 A Practical Young Person
1892 735 Dog Days
         1321 Violet - watercolour
from 1 Upper Combe Street, Croydon
1893 713 A Fisherman's Wife
1894 593 In a French Church
from Carlyle Studios, King's Road, Chelsea
1896 697 A Dawdling Damsel
         1057 Miss Lucy Cambridge - watercolour
from 15 Margaretta Terrace, Chelsea
1898 829 Lucy

Works by This Artist