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Lambert, James (1725-1788) (DNB00)


LAMBERT, JAMES (1725–1788), musician and painter, was born of very humble parents at Jevington in Sussex in 1725, and received little education. He early showed a talent for art by roughly drawing sketches of animals, landscapes, &c., with such poor materials as he could obtain at Jevington; but when quite young he settled at Lewes in order to practise as a painter. At Lewes he waa known as a 'herald painter,' and painted many inn signs. Lambert is probably best known by a series of several hundred water-colour drawings, which he executed for Sir William Burrell, in illustration of the antiquities of Sussex. Some of these sketches are in the British Museum. Other drawings by Lambert are to be found in Watson's 'History of the Earth of Warren' and in Horsfield's works. Seven of his pictures appeared at the Royal Academy, and he exhibited frequently at the Society of Artists and elsewhere from 1761 until the year of his death. Lambert excelled as a draughtsman, but his work suffered from unpleasing mannerisms. His colour is said to have been excellent, but his extant paintings have lost much of their brilliancy, probably from long esposure to very strong lights.

Lambert was for many years organist of the church of St. Thomas-at-Cliffe, Lewes. Dunvan, in his 'History of Lewes,' p. 324, says that Lambert was a better punter than musician, though excellent in both arts. As a musician he was comparatively little known. He died at Lewes on 7 Dec. 1788, aged 63, and was buried in the churchyard of St. John's, near that town. The Society of Arts and Sciences accepted a presentation picture of a landscape by Lambert about 1770.

[Lower's Worthies of Sussex, 1865. p. 39 Dunvan's Hist. of Lewes,.324; Graves's Dict. of Artists, p. 138.]

R. H. L.