George W. Lambert (1873-1930)
oil on canvas
40.5 x 56.1 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1934
Born 1873, St Petersburg, Russia. Died 1930, New South Wales.
Born of English and American parents, George Washington Lambert came to Australia in 1887. He studied at the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney. Two years spent as a station-hand on a country property gave him an enduring love of horses and the rural themes that can be seen in many of his paintings. He won the Wynne Prize for landscape painting in 1899.
In 1900, as the inaugural recipient of the NSW Travelling Scholarship, Lambert made the first of several trips to England and Europe. There he was able to study the work of the old masters as well as the modern painters. In 1917 he was appointed as an official war artist in Palestine and Gallipoli. He received numerous portrait commissions, exhibited frequently and became one of the most popular artists of his day. He won the Archibald Prize in 1927. In 1928 the Art Gallery of New South Wales commissioned Lambert to paint a portrait of Howard Hinton, then a Trustee of the gallery, to recognise his ongoing support of Australian artists and his generosity. Hinton donated over 100 paintings to the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1914, and then went on to donate over one thousand works to the Armidale Teachers' College.
This painting is a study of the country horse racing track outside Goulburn NSW, at which Lambert also painted a larger (unfinished) work, 'Tirranna Picnic Race Meeting' held in the University of Melbourne Art Collection. In contrast to the bustlingly popular pastoral event that had been held at Tirranna from 1855, this painting shows no horses or people. The location is quiet and abandoned. The red finishing box stands waiting. The paddocked hills are dotted with brown gum trees and a storm brews in the sky.