Thomas Birch Gallery
American painter of English birth. He was one of the most important American landscape and marine painters of the early 19th century. He moved to America in 1794 with his father William Birch (1755-1834), a painter and engraver from whom he received his artistic training. The family settled in Philadelphia, where William, armed with letters of introduction from Benjamin West to leading citizens of that city, became a drawing-master. Early in their American careers both Birches executed cityscapes, several of which were engraved. Thomas contributed a number of compositions to The City of Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania, North America, as it Appeared in the Year 1800 (1800), a series of views conceived by the elder Birch in obvious imitation of comparable British productions. An English sensibility is also apparent in the many paintings of country estates executed by father and son in the early 19th century (e.g. Eaglesfield, 1808; priv. col.). These compositions, along with such portrayals of important public edifices in and near Philadelphia as Fairmount Waterworks (1821; Philadelphia, PA Acad. F.A.), emphasize the cultural progress and commercial prosperity of the young United States as well as its almost Edenic natural beauty. Birch is also known for his representations of winter landscapes.