William Birch - English miniature painter, enameller, and landscape engraver and designer

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James Barton Longacre

William Russell Birch (9 April 1755 – 7 August 1834) was an English miniature painter, enameller, and landscape engraver and designer.

Life

Birch was born in Warwickshire, the son of Anne, née Russell, and physician Thomas Birch. He spent his early childhood in Warwick and was apprenticed to a jeweller, Thomas Jeffreys, and to Sir Joshua Reynolds. He exhibited enamel portraits at the Royal Academy from 1781 to 1794. In 1785, he received a medal from the Royal Society of Arts. As an engraver he is best known in England for his Délices de la Grande Bretagne, consisting of thirty-six plates of ancient buildings in Norwich and elsewhere, published in 1791. After emigrating to Philadelphia in 1794 he made portrait enamels of many people including copies of portraits of George Washington, by Gilbert Stuart. He was the father of Thomas Birch, American portrait and marine painter. His typescript autobiography is held by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He died in Philadelphia, aged 79.

Works

• The City of Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania North America. Philadelphia, 1800
• The Country Seats of the United States, 1808

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