Born in Genoa, Italy, the artist was the only child of Surgeon-General Sir John Harry Ker Innes KCB who was appointed an honorary surgeon to Queen Victoria. She married the artist Norman GARSTIN in 1893 in London (GRO). At the Opening Exhibition of NAG in 1895 Mrs Birch exhibited Chrysanthemums, which was sold. She did not exhibit often and the whereabouts of her work is currently not known.
In 1902 she loaned a portrait of Alexandra Forbes Forbes to the Spring Exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, together with most of the West Cornwall artists from Newlyn and St Ives. In 1909 she exhibited Echoes from Olden Time, also at NAG. She was the author of Stanhope A FORBES, ARA, and Elizabeth Stanhope FORBES, ARWS (1906), which was reprinted for the first time in 2005 (Cornish Classics). This book, partly authored by Elizabeth FORBES (chapters within the book in her own words) is one of a scarce number of contemporaneous accounts of the artistic life of the area. Constance Birch died in Ottery St Mary, Devon on April 13 1926, aged 61 (GRO).
works and access
Works include: Chrysanthemums (1895); A Study (bought by Lionel Birch); Echoes from olden time (1909); Portrait of Miss Alexandra Forbes Forbes (loaned for exhibition at Whitechapel 1902)
Author of Stanhope A Forbes ARA and Elizabeth Stanhope Forbes ARWS (London 1906, reprinted 2005 Truran)
Whitechapel 1902 (see Hardie for catalogue);
NAG Sketch Exhibition December 1895 - January 1896, March 1909
NSA 1895 ff
Cornish Telegraph 25 Mar 1909
Hardie (1995) 100 Years in Newlyn: Diary of a Gallery;
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall;
Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists (under Mrs CM)