Houghton BIRCH

1869—1944

Houghton was a daughter of the prominent local mine-owning family, the Vivians of Camborne, and was born there. She was educated in Truro and qualified in London as a nursery nurse.   Returning to Cornwall, she wrote asking Samuel John Lamorna BIRCH for painting lessons (1902) and then married him in August of the same year. He gave her the affectionate name of Mouse. Her paintings were mostly in watercolour and contain detailed studies of rocks, trees, landscapes and coastal scenes.

She was mother to Joan Houghton BIRCH and Elizabeth Lamorna BIRCH, both also painters, and made and exhibited crafts and the occasional painting at the Newlyn Art Gallery (with her husband and daughters), and two landscapes at the St Ives Society of Artists (1935).  In 1937 at NAG she exhibited a painting Carn Barges. A work in pencil, Cottage at Lamorna (Private Collection), was exhibited at Penlee House (2002).  An outlet for her craftwork and that of her daughters and their friend, Pog YGLESIAS, was their 'craft shop' set up - mainly during the summers - at the bottom of the drive leading up to Flagstaff Cottage in Lamorna. It was more a creative venture than a lucrative one, adding to the sense of community Lamorna always engendered.