Page:Men of the Time, eleventh edition.djvu/140

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BIRCH.

Lied." Frederick William IV. of Prussia honoured him by many marks of appreciation, and he enjoyed the friendship of Baron Humboldt. Chevalier Bunsen, Sir William Allen, and other leading men of the day. The subject of this memoir was sent at the age of twelve to study at the Somerset House School of Design. In 1845 the King of Prussia having offered his father a residence at Berlin, he accepted the offer, and removed with his family to that capital. Two years later, when his father's death occurred, Charles Birch was already a student of the Berlin Royal Academy, drawing and modelling from the antique, and attending the life, anatomical, perspective, and animal classes. He also received valuable instruction, as a pupil, in the studios of Professors Rauch and Wichmann. He remained at the Berlin Academy until 1852. Before leaving he produced his first work of any importance—a bust of the late Earl of Westmoreland, English Ambassador at Berlin, subsequently executed in marble for the King of Prussia. On his return to England in 1852 Mr. Birch passed through the schools of the Royal Academy, gaining two medals, and after some further years spent in study, entered the studio of the late J. H. Foley, R.A., where for ten years he acted as principal assistant. In 1864 the Art Union of London having offered a premium of £600 for the best original figure or group, a prize open to all nations, Mr. Birch was the successful competitor with his group "A Wood Nymph." The work was subsequently executed in marble, and it was selected by the Royal Commissioners as one of the representative works of British Art for the Vienna, Philadelphia, and Paris Exhibitions; its present owner, Mr. Hornsby of Beckenham, being, however, only willing to part with it temporarily for exhibition in the French Capital. The following list comprises a selection from Mr. Birch's contributions to the Royal Academy since 1852:—Busts of the late E. M. Ward, R.A., and Mrs. E. M. Ward; statuette of Mary Agatha, youngest daughter of Lord and Lady John Russell; bust of Prince Frederick William of Prussia, from sittings taken at Buckingham Palace before his marriage with the Princess Royal; a marble group, "The Good Samaritan," executed for the late Mrs. J. S. Mort, of Sydney; marble group, "Children of the late Edwin Tooth, of Sydney;" "Marguerita with the Jewel Casket" (from Faust); marble bust, "Ruth;" bust of J. J. Lonsdale, Recorder of Folkestone; bust of Lord John Russell, in marble, for the City Liberal Club; colossal statue of S. T. Chadwick, M.D., executed in bronze for the town of Bolton in Lancashire; and an ideal work, "Retaliation," subsequently cast in bronze and purchased by the Commissioners of the Sydney Art Gallery. In 1879 Mr. Birch exhibited "The Last Call," a group of heroic size, representing a trumpeter of Hussars and his horse shot down simultaneously whilst in the act of charging. In 1880 he exhibited a group representing Lieutenant Hamilton, V.C., in his last and gallant attempt to save the Residency at Cabul in Sept. 1879. In 1881 he executed a colossal statue in bronze of the late Maharajah of Bulrampore. Amongst other works in progress are a colossal figure of Earl Beaconsfield for Liverpool, and a large group "Godiva." As a draughtsman on wood and stone, Mr. Birch has for a long time past contributed to the pages of the Illustrated London News and other periodicals and books. He executed, in 1880, a series of twenty original designs for the Art Union of London, in illustration of Lord Byron's poem of "Lara," He was