In April 1918, Lambert was in Cairo, where he remained for about a month, living at the National Hotel. While there he spent several days with the Imperial Camel Corps at Abbassia, on the outskirts of the city, where the Allied soldiers were trained to ride and handle camels and where Lambert made studies of the camels and their gear.
Lambert depicted this camel resting and hobbled at the left elbow, with official saddlery including a fantass holding ten gallons (fifty litres) of water.
Lambert did not often paint in watercolour, but he made a number of works in this medium while employed as an official war artist, presumably because it was one that was easy to transport and to work with in the open air. In this work Lambert created a vivid image, emphasising the animal’s elegant and compact form in a recumbent position. He demonstrated that he had great command over his materials.
In a talk to the Chelsea Arts Club later that year Lambert observed that the camel:
is beautiful to draw and paint but he is an animal one cannot love. Never attempt to caress a camel. If he should try to caress you, and he will if you are not watchful, hit him with anything that is handy and heavy, the butt of the rifle, an army boot, hobnailed, or the Colonel’s best armchair. Hit him on the jaw and hit hard.
Despite this, Lambert acknowledged the value of the camel ‘as one of the important, if not the most important, factors in winning the Palestine campaign’ (ML MSS 97/4, item 4).