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William Birch Portrait

William Birch

Also Known as: William Russell Birch, William R. Birch

Warwickshire, England 1755

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1834

Active in:

  • Bristol, Pennsylvania

Photo Caption:
Self-Portrait. Collection of the Walters Art Museum.

Luce Artist Biography

William Birch was born in Warwickshire, England, and apprenticed to the London goldsmith and jeweler Thomas Jeffrey. There, he learned the art of enameling and exhibited many miniatures at the Royal Academy and the Society of Artists. The painter Sir Joshua Reynolds noticed Birch’s talent and hired him to make copies of his oil paintings. In 1794, Birch immigrated to America with his family and settled in Philadelphia. He soon established himself as an enamelist, a new medium in America, and created popular portraits, landscapes, and copies of old masters. He established an engraving company with his son, Thomas, and together they published Views of Philadelphia.