Although best known as a sculptor, throughout his life Michael was also a painter. In his youth in Cairo as a member of a surrealist group, his work was predominantly in oils. After it was favourably received, he was commissioned to complete five large murals. Later he produced work in watercolours and crayons. In the 1970’s, his trip to Japan prompted him to begin to work in the calligraphic style of brush and inks and his first pieces, originally intended as wrapping paper, were quickly converted by collectors into traditional wall hangings.




Michael produced some large sculptures using Portland Limestone, Marble, Acrylic, Bronze and Wood.
The first piece was created while Michael was at Camberwell Collage of Arts & Crafts. The sculptor Sir Henry Moore watched him working on it and commented: 'Ah, a Henry Moore, and a damned good one at that'.


In 1947, Michael worked at the Madoura Pottery in Vallaruis in France, where he threw pots for Picasso. 


In 1952, Michael had began to design innovative spectacle frames. With a starting capital of only £15 he went on to found an international group of successful companies. He retired from the business world in 1970.

Though half a century has passed since Michael Birch began designing and manufacturing cat eye glasses frames, many of them are designs so bold that they almost look like the creations of a modern fashion house and given Birch's fanatical insistence on high quality, large numbers have survived to be collected and worn today.

The Vintage Optical Shop

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