DETAIL : George LAMBERT  Russia 1873 � Australia 1930  'Chesham Street' [Chesney Street; The Doctor; Harley Street] 1910  oil on canvas National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased in 1993 DETAIL : George LAMBERT  Russia 1873 � Australia 1930  'The convex mirror' c.1916  oil with pencil on wood panel private collection
George LAMBERT | Michelago landscape

Russia 1873 – Australia 1930
Australia 1887-1900; England 1900-01; France 1901-02; England 1902-21; Australia from 1921
Michelago landscape
[Michelago landscape (No.1)]
oil on wood panel
33.5 (h) x 42.5 (w) cm
signed and dated 'G.W. LAMBERT A.R.A/1923? lower left
Philip Bacon, Brisbane
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Michelago landscape shows one of Lambert’s favourite places, where he painted several landscapes, including The squatter’s daughter (cat.94). He described the landscape in a poem:

The sun is down and ‘Micalago’ is at rest Like Chinese silk of faded gold, the grass and all the hills like breasts of turtle-doves ... my soul could find a home ’midst blades of grass And get its music from the whispering trees ... These pleasant little hills that lure us on To ride and ride until we reach beyond.

In this landscape Lambert depicted the gentle undulating Monaro country. He focused on form and pattern, emphasising the rhythmical sweep of the rolling hills and valleys and the pattern of the vegetation dotting the middle distance.

He probably painted this small panel out of doors, but eliminated aspects of the scene to fit his final composition. The cloudy sky possibly suggests impending rain.

In painting this landscape Lambert may also have thought back to the work of earlier artists. He commented in 1927 that ‘when I am fortunate enough to give some time to the representation of the landscape of the Monaro I cannot help thanking the fate that brought me into touch with Persian, Chinese and Italian landscape painting’ (ML MSS 97/8, item 5).

Lambert had met Major General Sir Granville Ryrie in 1918, while serving as an official war artist in Palestine during the First World War. Following his return to Australia in 1921, he first visited the Ryrie property Micalago (at Michelago on the road from Canberra to Cooma) in January 1922, and became a regular visitor there over the following years.

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