A draughtsman of remarkable ability, matching even his mentor Augustus John, Henry Lamb (1883–1960) was a founder-member of the Camden Town Group, exhibiting at their inaugural exhibition in 1911. He was a powerful and original War artist, and an engaging and sensitive portrait painter, whose group portraits in particular are as successful as those by any British painter of the age. To date unfairly eclipsed by the glamorous and culturally infl uential circle around him, Lamb is now probably best known through these fi gures and his many compelling portraits of them, amongst them Lady Ottoline Morrell, Evelyn Waugh and Lytton Strachey, whose monumental full-length portrait by Lamb in Tate Britain is probably the artist’s best-known work.
Lamb abandoned a promising medical career in Manchester to pursue his training as an artist at the London art school run by William Orpen and Augustus John. He found inspiration in the rural simplicity of Brittany, and a later visit to Ireland inspired his great genre painting Fisherfolk, Gola Island of 1913 – not seen in public since the last major retrospective in 1984. Following active service during the First World War as an army medical offi cer (for which he was awarded a Military Cross), he contributed two of the greatest artworks to the proposed National Hall of Remembrance a year after armistice in 1919. Following a productive period in Poole after the War, where he produced some evocative townscapes of its streets and skylines, he eventually settled in Coombs Bissett near Salisbury. Here he established a reputation as a sought-after portrait painter, executing a constant stream of landscapes, still lives, genre pictures and fi ne domestic subjects. Accompanying an exhibition at Salisbury Museum in 2018 and Poole Museum in 2019, Henry Lamb: Out of the Shadows will focus on over 50 works by the artist from across his career. As well as loans from major national collections, the group will include signifi cant works from private collections, including a substantial archive from the artist’s family and a number of re-discovered masterpieces. The catalogue will also feature an introductory essay by Lamb’s cousin, the writer Thomas Pakenham who knew the artist well.