Beatrice Stuart modelled for many well-known artists before and during the First World War, such as Frank Dicksee, Augustus John, Harold and Laura Knight, Alfred Munnings, and John Singer Sargent. She possessed considerable courage and determination. At the age of seventeen she had one of her legs amputated above the knee owing to bone disease. She is said to have been not only beautiful, but graceful as well (NGA file 81/944).
Lambert vividly captured the expression of his subject, showing her looking curiously to one side, with slightly pursed lips. Her taut neck, emphasised by the strong line, and her quizzical glance give the drawing a sensuousness.
In drawings such as Beatrice , Lambert used a rapid, expressive manner of handling line similar to that of Augustus John, and chose a subject who also appealed to John. As Andrew Sayers has suggested, ‘Like John, Lambert intended his line to deliberately demonstrate rhythm and to embody a decorative quality. The stress on line was one of the tenets of the Slade School, whose drawing-based training was the foundation of the art of Lambert’s contemporaries at the New English Art Club’ (Sayers 1989, p.126).
This and similar drawings drew favourable attention from critics. The Times on 4 April 1913 said ‘Mr. George Lambert’s “Beatrice” (38) is a fine drawing’, and the Athenaeum (possibly Roger Fry) commented on 12 April 1913 that ‘The best of the other exhibits here are the accomplished Academic drawings by Mr. George Lambert (33 and 38)’.