Amelia Beatrice (Amy) Lambert (née Absell) (1872–1964) was Lambert’s wife. She arrived in Australia with her family in the 1890s, where she and her sisters, Marian and Evelyn, worked as photographic retouchers at Falk Studios in Sydney. Amy was a tall, strikingly beautiful and stylish young girl, with dark eyes, full lips and jet black hair which she often swept back into a bun. She was an aspiring author, who had written several stories for the Australian Magazine . She married Lambert on 4 September 1900 at St Thomas’s Church, North Sydney, and two days later they sailed for London. She was mother to Lambert’s two sons, Maurice and Constant, and provided a comfortable home for the family for over twenty years. She was a regular model for Lambert’s art, dressing up in costumes and padding out her figure to play a part in his creations.
In this drawing Lambert created an affectionate view of his wife. He presented her with her head tilted to one side and looking out to the viewer through the corner of her eyes, with an open, outgoing expression. He modelled her features softly and tenderly captured the way strands of her hair fell loosely down her face. He sensually emphasised the sides of her neck; and he drew her from a close up position, so that we almost feel we can reach out and touch her.
Towards the end of his life he wrote to Amy, suggesting that she read Yeats’s poem ‘When you are old’, with the lines:
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
Although dated 1906, this drawing would appear to be a study for the head of the mother in Lambert’s Holiday in Essex c.1910 (cat.44). But in this drawing he created a more delicate, gentler image of Amy than in the painting.