Forging the Nation - Federation: the First 20 years
- Forging the Nation: home
- National identity
- Seeking security
- The First World War
- Towards the future
- Capture of New Guinea
- Victory for the Navy
- Gallipoli campaign
- The Western Front
- Light Horse in Middle East
George Lambert 1873 - 1930
George Lambert was born in St Petersburg, Russia, in 1873 and arrived in Australia with his mother in 1887. Lambert commenced his art studies with Julian Ashton at Academie Julian in Sydney, 1896 -1900, then moved to Colarossi's and Atelier Delecluse in Paris in 1900-01. After a year in Paris, Lambert moved to London where he exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1904 until 1911 with great success. His reputation was firmly established however, through his work as a war artist in Palestine.
Lambert was appointed as an official war artist late in 1917. Attached to the AIF in Palestine, he left London on 25 December. During the journey he did the first of seventy-six drawings produced in 1918; many are portraits of the officers and men who were based in Egypt and Palestine.
Lambert was re-appointed in 1919 to travel to Gallipoli and to the Middle East to make preparatory drawings for the commissioned battle paintings. Some of the larger paintings took up to two years to complete. Lambert produced over 500 works for the Australian War Memorial during two official appointments and with post-war commissions.
When Lambert painted his sensitive portrayal of an Australian sergeant of the Light Horse, he intentionally created a new model for the military portrait. He chose not to paint the typical dashing sergeant on horse back in plumed hat, but concentrated on the essence of the sergeant's character, portraying an Australian individual who reflected an Australian type and his relationship with the land. The Australian Light Horse were mounted riflemen and were the product of the Australian countryside. They represented every aspect of Australia's rural industries from the large sheep and cattle stations to dairymen and orchardists.
The sitter was Thomas Herbert (Harry) Ivers who was a sergeant with the 1st Signal Squadron, and employed as a map maker for the War Records Section in Palestine. They met during Lambert's visit to Damascus in 1919 and Ivers was subsequently granted permission to assist Lambert in London from September 1919 until February 1920. Lambert painted the portrait from his studio in Kensington, London.