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Lambert, George (1710-1765) (DNB00)


LAMBERT, GEORGE (1710–1765), landscape- and scene-painter, a native of Kent, was born in 1710. He studied under Warner Hassells [q. v.] and John Wootton [q. v.], and soon attracted attention by his power of landscape-painting. He painted many large and fine landscapes in the manner of Gaspar Poussin, and it is stated that Lambert's paintings have since been frequently sold as the work of Poussin. At other times he imitated the style of Salvator Rosa. Many of his landscapes were finely engraved by F. Vivares, J. Mason, and others, including a set of views of Plymouth and Mount Edgcumbe (painted conjointly with Samuel Scott), a view of Saltwood Castle in Kent, another of Dover, and a landscape presented by Lambert to the Foundling Hospital, London. Lambert also obtained a great reputation as a scene-painter, working at first for the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre under John Rich [q. v.] When Rich removed to Covent Garden Theatre, Lambert secured the assistance of Amiconi, and together they produced scenery of far higher quality than any previously executed. Lambert was a man of jovial temperament and shrewd wit, and frequently spent his evenings at work in his painting-loft at Covent Garden Theatre, to which men of note in the fashionable or theatrical world resorted to share his supper of a beef-steak, freshly cooked on the spot. Out of these meetings arose the well-known 'Beef-steak Club,' which long maintained a high social reputation. Most of Lambert's scene-paintings unfortunately perished when Covent Garden Theatre was destroyed by fire in 1808. Lambert was a friend of Hogarth, and a member of the jovial society that met at 'Old Slaughter's' Tavern in St. Martin's Lane. In 1755 he was one of the committee of artists who projected a royal academy of arts in London. He was a member of the Society of Artists of Great Britain, exhibited with them in 1761 and the three following years, and during the same period contributed to the Academy exhibitions. In 1765 he and other members seceded and formed the Incorporated Society of Artists of Great Britain, of which he was elected the first president. He died, however, on 30 Nov. 1765, before its constitution had been completed.

In conjunction with Samuel Scott, Lambert painted a series of Indian views for the old East India House in Leadenhall Street. He also etched two prints after Salvator Rosa. Lambert was associated in 1735 with G. Vertue, Hogarth, and Pine in obtaining a bill from parliament securing to artists a copyright in their works. Lambert's portrait by Thomas Hudson is in the rooms occupied by the Beefsteak Club; another by John Vanderbank was engraved in mezzotint by John Faber the younger in 1727, and in line by H. Robinson and others. Another portrait of Lambert by Hogarth was in the possession of Samuel Ireland [q. v.] in 1782.

[Edwards's Anecdotes of Painters; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Arnold's Library of the Fine Arts, i. 323; Pye's Patronage of British Art; Austin Dobson's William Hogarth; Dodd's manuscript History of English Engravers (Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 33402).]

L. C.