S.J. Lamorna Birch, R.A. 1869 - 1955
Our Little Stream, Lamorna
Photo: R.A./John Hammond
© Royal Academy of Arts, London
Click here to order image/reproduction rights
Our Little Stream, Lamorna, ca. 1926
Oil on canvas, 635 X 760 X 23 mm
Diploma Work given by S.J. Lamorna Birch, R.A., accepted 1934
 Add to Lightbox

Birch moved to Lamorna Cove, Cornwall in 1902. It was an area that was one of Birch's favourite and most frequently depicted subjects. He even incorporated the word 'Lamorna' into his name in order to distinguish himself from the local painter Lionel Birch.

Laura Knight described Larmona as a rural paradise, 'a densely wooded valley filled with lichen covered trees of greenish grey' where 'violet-tinted grey boulders bordered a stream that found its way to the sea'. Birch balanced his passion for painting with a love of fishing. It was said that he painted the valley with a depth of insight that only a fisherman could have.

In the painting Birch concentrated on the stream, choosing a very high horizon with the main highlights deriving from the reflections on the water and with the sky hardly visible. The restricted field of vision emphasises the intimacy of this secluded spot. Birch was attracted to the challenge presented by painting the moving water. Here he reserves the heaviest impasto for the highlights on the water and bank. The striking juxtaposition of bright yellows and greens with blue is typical of the tonal range of his work.

This work is currently on display in the Reynolds Room at the Royal Academy of Arts and can be viewed by attending one of the free tours of the John Madejski Fine Rooms. Click here for further information about the tours

Frames associated with this work