Birch, William (DNB00)

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BIRCH, WILLIAM (d. 1794?), enamel painter and engraver, was born in Warwick about 1760, and practised in London. In 1781 and the following year he exhibited enamels at the Royal Academy, and in 1785 received a medal from the Society of Arts for the excellence of his work in this kind, and the improvements which he had introduced into it. He was a fairly good engraver, as is shown by his one published work, ‘Délices de la Grande Bretagne,’ which contains views of some of the principal seats and chief places of interest in England. There is one charming etching by Birch, 'The Porcupine Inn Yard, Rushmore Hill, etched upon the spot.' This little work is quiet, natural, balanced, and thoroughly picturesque. Unhappily we have not much more of this quality. In 1794 he went to America. He settled in Philadelphia, and painted a portrait of Washington. On the title of his work above referred to he describes himself as 'enamel painter, Hampstead Heath.' The date of his death is uncertain.

[Birch's Délices de la Grande Bretagne. 1791; Redgrave’s Dict. of Artists, l878.]

E. R.