1794 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Birch

William Seward, "Dr. Birch" European Magazine 25 (January 1794) 25.



Dr. Birch wrote at one time one hundred and eighty lives for Houbraken's Illustrious Heads of Englishmen. The bookseller said, "that the Doctor was a dead hand at a life." The heads in this collection were not always taken from the most approved pictures, and that of the celebrated John Hampden is an ideal head. Very indifferent copies were sent over to Houbraken in Holland, who returned them with his engraving. He presented the proprietors with a plate of his own head, which is one of the finest in the collection. Perrault's Illustrious Frenchmen is a work of more accuracy respecting the likenesses, and the biographical part is more full, and better written than the English one.