Mrs Chisholm of Kantara

Accession Number ART02756
Collection type Art
Measurement sheet: 35.5 x 24.7 cm (irreg.); image: 26.3 x 13.4 cm
Object type Drawing
Physical description pencil on paper
Maker Lambert, George
Place made Egypt: Suez Canal, Kantara
Date made 25 March 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

A head and shoulders portrait of Mrs (later Dame) Alice Chisholm (DBE) who ran soldiers' canteens in the Middle East during the First World War. On her own initiative and with her own funds she established the first canteen at Heliopolis in Egypt. She later managed the canteen at Kantara. With the assistance of Miss Rania MacPhillamy, she expanded this into a large-scale venture that provided meals and refreshments to thousands of troops daily. She employed a large staff of mainly Egyptian workers. Official historian Henry Gullett wrote: 'Mrs Alice Chisholm's work was a bright example of the devotion of Australia's womanhood to the distant troops.' (Gullett, p. 649.) This is one of the few pencil portraits of a woman that Lambert made while he was an official war artist. Lambert wrote of his experience in making this drawing in March 1918; 'When I asked her for a sitting she modestly protested that she was not important enough. I got her to sit in a strong light; she has an interesting, careworn face, and a very charming personality, and her portrait was one of the best of my carefully-made drawings' (Moore, vol. 1, p.151).