8. GEORGE WASHINGTON LAMBERT (1873-1930)
Unfinished Sketch "Timber Getters" (Wales) c1916-17
oil on canvas
37.8 x 45.4 cm
bears inscription verso: SKETCH/ GEO LAMBERT
Lambert Memorial Exhibition, Anthony Hordern's Fine Art Gallery, Sydney, 25 September-15 October 1930, cat.11 (partial Anthony Hordern & Sons Fine Art Gallery label attached verso)
studio stamp signed by Gladys Owen and Basil Burdett as trustees of the Lambert Memorial Fund verso
Aged forty at the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914, Lambert was unable to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force in London where he had resided since 1901. Instead he volunteered in the United Arts Volunteer Rifles along with several other members of the Chelsea Arts Club and rose to the rank of commander by 1915. Originally charged with training new recruits how to ride, Lambert then moved to the Timber Supplies Department of the British Home Force in Wales as a Divisional Works Officer. It was during this time that Lambert oversaw the construction of the timber duckboards used on the Western Front portrayed in this work.
At the end of 1917, Lambert resigned from this post and was appointed an official war artist with the AIF with the honorary rank of lieutenant.
Lambert first came into contact with the Light Horse when he was commissioned to sketch and paint the charge of the Light Horse at Beersheba and it is their uniform (albeit a more relaxed version) he wears in the self portrait opposite.
Acknowledging his honorary rank, Lambert toasts his companions whilst displaying a label that reads: Dedicated to the Aust. Light Horse Palestine.
Gray, A. George Lambert Retrospective: Heroes & Icons, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2007, p.22
Martin, Terry. "George Washington Thomas Lambert (1873-1930), Australian Dictionary of Biography online, adb.anu.edu.au/biography/lambert-george-washington-thomas-7014