Samuel John Lamorna BIRCH (English 1869 - 1955)

A Flower of November Sold

Pen and brown ink and watercolour.
Inscribed A flower of November., and signed, dated and dedicated To Greta from John. / S.J Lamorna Birch 1939 at the bottom.
111 x 89 mm. (4 3/8 x 31/2 in.)


This small, charming sketch is dedicated to the artist’s longtime friend Greta Sequeira, an amateur painter Birch met in 1937, when she was aged twenty-eight and staying at a holiday cottage in Cornwall with her parents. They soon became friends and spent much time together, often travelling to London to visit exhibitions and artist’s studios. The close friendship between Greta and Birch, despite the significant age difference between them, seems to have led to occasional gossip about the nature of their relationship. At the time he made this small drawing for her, Birch seems to have been somewhat infatuated with the young woman, writing poems to her and taking great pleasure in her constant company. Yet, as the artist’s biographer has noted, ‘The attractions of Greta Sequiera for Birch went beyond her good looks. He was stimulated by her enthusiasm for painting and travel. Her energy, he told her, was like oxygen, giving him the drive to pursue his painting with unflagging vigour…Birch’s friendship with Greta continued to be a rather odd mixture of serious endeavour and high-spirited excitement, cemented by a shared enjoyment of the earthiness of life.’

Although in 1941 Greta married the artist’s patron, the Dundee publisher Ranald Valentine, she continued to remain close to the artist throughout his life, and corresponded with him until his death.

Given by the artist to Greta Sequeira Valentine, in 1939.

Samuel John 'Lamorna' BIRCH

A Flower of November


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