Samuel John Birch was born in Egremont, Cheshire. Apart from a brief period of study at the Atelier Colarossi, Paris in 1895, he was largely self-taught as an artist. Birch first visited West Cornwall in the late 1880s and settled in the Lamorna Valley in 1892. He adopted the epithet ‘Lamorna’ in 1895 to distinguish himself from fellow artist Lionel Birch (an idea suggested by Stanhope Forbes). He is regarded as the father figure of the later group of Newlyn artists, which included Laura and Harold Knight, Alfred Munnings, Frank Gascoigne Heath and Stanley Gardiner, known as the Lamorna group. Birch was elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy (ARA) in 1924 and was made a full Royal Academician (RA) eight years later. In his long and distinguished career, he exhibited over 200 works at the Royal Academy, as well as exhibiting throughout the Country and abroad.