George Washington Lambert

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George Lambert
George Washington Lambert - Self-portrait.jpg
Self-portrait (1906)
Born George Washington Thomas Lambert
(1873-09-13)13 September 1873
St Petersburg, Russia
Died 29 May 1930(1930-05-29) (aged 56)
Camden, Australia
Nationality Australian
Education Académie Delecluse
Julian Ashton
Known for War Artist
Awards ARA
Wynne Prize
Archibald Prize

George Washington Thomas Lambert ARA (13 September 1873 – 29 May 1930) was an Australian artist, known principally for portrait paintings and as a war artist during the First World War.

Early life[edit]

Lambert was born in St Petersburg, Russia, the posthumous son of George Washington Lambert (1833 – 25 July 1873, of Baltimore, Maryland. The younger Lambert's mother was Annie Matilda, née Firth, an Englishwoman. Mother and son soon moved to Württemberg, Germany, to be with Lambert's maternal grandfather. Lambert was educated at Kingston College, Yeovil, Somerset. The family, consisting of Lambert, his mother and three sisters, decided to emigrate to Australia. They arrived in Sydney aboard the Bengal on 20 January 1887.[1]


Lambert started exhibiting his pictures at the Art Society and the Society of Artists, Sydney in 1894. He then contributed pen-and-ink cartoons for The Bulletin in 1895 and began painting full-time in 1896.[1] In 1899 he won the Wynne Prize with Across the Blacksoil Plains. He studied at Julian Ashton's art school in Sydney until 1900. Later, he won a traveling scholarship for 150 pounds from the government of New South Wales. He spent a year in Paris before moving to London where he exhibited at the Royal Academy. Lambert was awarded a silver medal at an international exhibition for his painting The Sonnet in Barcelona in 1911. He was most known during this time as a portrait artist. While in London, it is suggested he was romantically involved with fellow artist Thea Proctor, one of his favorite subjects.

War artist[edit]

Sketching while an unidentified soldier looks on. Ottoman Empire: North Palestine, Lake Tiberias, c. 1918

In 1917, during the First World War, Lambert became an official Australian war artist. His painting Anzac, the landing 1915 of the landings on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey, is the largest painting at the Australian War Memorial collection. Lambert, as an honorary captain, travelled to Gallipoli in 1919 to make sketches for the painting.[1] Another noted work was A sergeant of the Light Horse (1920), painted in London after his travels in Palestine.[2]

Return to Australia[edit]

Sculpture of Henry Lawson

Lambert returned to Australia in 1921, where he had success in Melbourne with a one man show at Fine Art Society gallery. He was elected an associate of the Australian Royal Academy in 1922. He often visited the homestead of Colonel Granville Ryrie of the Australian Light Horse at Michelago, New South Wales and there painted The Squatter's Daughter and Michelago Landscape. In 1927 he won the Archibald Prize, Australia's most prestigious art prize for portraiture, with his work titled Mrs Murdoch. In November 1927 he was commissioned to create a statue of writer Henry Lawson; the work depicting Lawson in rough clothes accompanied by a swagman, a dog and a fence post was unveiled in The Domain, Sydney on 28 July 1931 by the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Philip Game.[3]


Lambert died on 29 May 1930 at Cobbity, near Camden, and is buried in the Anglican section of South Head Cemetery.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Lambert married Amelia Beatrice "Amy" Absell (1872–1963) in 1900. Together they had two sons: Maurice (1901–1964), a noted sculptor and associate of the Royal Academy, and Constant, (1905-1951) the British composer and conductor. Lambert was also the grandfather of Kit Lambert (1935–1981), one of the managers of the rock band, The Who.


A Bush Idyll (1896) 
Sheoak Sam (1898) 
Portrait of Old Joe (1898) 
Across the Black Soil Plains (1899) 
Self-portrait (c. 1901) 
Hugh Ramsay (1902) 
Sybil Waller in a red and gold dress (1905) 
The holiday group (The bathers) (1907) 
Portrait Group (1908) 
The Pond (1908) 
Holiday in Essex (1910) 
Pan is dead (1911) 
Portrait of a lady (The dancer) (1911) 
The Belle of the Alley (1913) 
Anzacs bathing in the sea (1914) 
Important people (c. 1914) 
Anzac - The Landing 1915 
The Charge of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade at the Nek (1915) 
Portrait of a lady (Thea Proctor) (1916) 
Destruction of Arras (1916) 
Sketch of The Charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba (1917) 
Anzac from Gaba Tepe (1919) 
Sergeant of the Light Horse (1920) 
The White Glove (1921) 
The Squatter's Daughter (c. 1923) 
Michelago Landscape (1923) 
Charles Bean (1924) 
Egg and cauliflower still life (1926) 
Julian Ashton (1928) 

See also[edit]

Visual arts of Australia


  1. ^ a b c d Martin Terry (1983). "Lambert, George Washington Thomas (1873 - 1930)". Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9. MUP. pp. 649–650. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  2. ^ "A sergeant of the Light Horse". George W Lambert Retrospective. National Gallery of Australia. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "George W. Lambert retrospective". National Gallery of Australia. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 


External links[edit]

Preceded by
William Beckwith McInnes
Archibald Prize
for Mrs. Murdoch
Succeeded by
John Longstaff