Artist biography

English painter of Australian birth. He made his first visit to Ireland in 1911. Lamb's work from this period reflects the influence of Gauguin, and his paintings were included in the Second Post-Impressionist exhibition. He was also a founder-member of the Camden town group in 1911 and of the London group in 1913.

When World War I broke out, Lamb resumed his medical studies, and after qualifying in 1916 he became a battalion medical officer with the 5th Enniskillen Fusiliers, before being invalided home. His appointment as War Artist came after the signing of the Armistice, but he was commissioned to paint a work for a scheme to create a special gallery of large war pictures. His Irish Troops in the Judean Hills Surprised by a Turkish Bombardment (Palestine War Picture) (1919; London, Imp. War Mus.) complements well the style of another work for this project, Stanley Spencer's Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing Station (1919; London, Imp. War Mus.).

Lamb's first one-man exhibition was held at the Alpine Club Gallery, London, in 1922, and his large portrait of Lytton Strachey (1914; London, N.P.G.) provoked the most comment. In the work Strachey's lassitude is mimicked by the branches of the trees outside the window, and mocked by the tightly furled umbrella. He was again appointed an official War Artist (1940–45) during World War II and painted a large number of portraits of soldiers. His work as a painter was affected by increasing ill health in his later years.

Henry Lamb, 1883–1960 (exh. cat., essays by A. Powell, K. Clements and S. Martin; Manchester, C.A.G.; Bristol, Mus. & A.G.; Birmingham, Mus. & A.G.; York, C.A.G.; 1984)
K. Clements: Henry Lamb: The Artist and his Friends (Bristol, 1985)


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