Henry Lamb

Irish Troops in the Judaean Hills Surprised by a Turkish Bombardment (1919)

This is a picture in the Imperial War Mueum by Australian-born Henry Lamb. He was born in Adelaide, where his father was professor of mathematics at the university, in 1883.

The family moved back to England in 1886 when his father was appointed to the Chair of Mathematics in Manchester. He has an unusual c.v. He studied art in London and Paris but at the outbreak of war qualified as a doctor at Guy’s and served in the RAMC. He was awarded the Military Cross. At the end of the war the British War Memorials Committee commissioned the large canvas at the head of this post.

In the art world he is known as a founder of the Camden Town Group and he became a Royal Academician in 1940. It must be unusual to have Dr in front of your name and MC, RA after it. In WW II he was an official war artist.

His first marriage was not a success and he re-married in 1928 Pansy Pakenham. She is a sister of the famous prison visitor Frank, Earl of Longford. She was one of the Bright Young Things, twenty years his junior. Lady Pansy was a novelist, biographer and translated French poetry. I own that I have never read anything by her. Her circle of literary friends included Alec and Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford. Rather an interesting couple I hope you will agree.

In the summer of 1999 I was sent by a friend to Christie’s to look at some pictures by Nick Hely-Hutchinson and advise on their merits and likely price. In the event the one she bid for went far in excess of its estimate and her bid. However, I saw this attractive drawing and bought it for £200.

Portrait of a Young Man.

My friend is now married to a Pakenham and the portrait is by Henry Lamb. It’s a rum world.

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