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A view of an English Country House in idyllic parkland with cattle grazing

$13,609.73

About

Circle of George Lambert A view of an English Country house in idyllic parkland with cattle grazing Oil on canvas Canvas size 25 3/8 x 33 1/2 in (64.5 x 85 cm) Framed size 31 1/2 x 39 1/2 in George Lambert is of unknown parentage. His birth date is computed from Vertue's note on him in September 1722 as ‘a young hopefull Painter in Landskape aged 22 much in imitation of Wotton. Manner of Gasper Pousin’, adding that he ‘learnt of … Hassel’ (Vertue, Note books, 3.6). The suggestion that he was therefore a pupil of the portrait painter Warner Hassels (fl. 1680–1710) remains conjectural. A book-plate for ‘George Lambart’ (an occasional early spelling of his name), flanked by figures of Music and Painting and displaying arms shared by the Lamberts of Banstead, Surrey, and the earls of Cavan, is accepted as having been designed by William Hogarth for him. According to Samuel Ireland it was vouched for by Lambert's pupil John Inigo Richards, who recalled that it ‘was stuck in all his books; and that his library consisted of seven or eight hundred volumes’ (Ireland, 1.155). Lambert is not known to have travelled abroad, married, or fathered children. He seems to have lived most of his life in some comfort in London in a rented house in the Great Piazza, Covent Garden, and travelled about the country sketching houses and views. By all accounts a jovial, clubbable man, his reputation, according to Edwards, was that of a ‘person of great respectability in character and profession’ (Edwards, 19). His friend the actor William Havard extolled his virtues, adding that ‘He was modest to a Fault—for it hurt him in his Profession’ (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans, BDA). Lambert was named executor in the wills of the distinguished and wealthy carver John Boson (d. 1743) and the painter John Thornhill and had a lifelong involvement in the affairs of artists as a professional body. He was a signatory to Hogarth's copyright bill of 1735, and in 1746 he was one of several leading artists elected governors of the Foundling Hospital, to which he presented a large overmantel landscape in 1757 (still with the Thomas Coram Foundation, London). Like many artists he was also a freemason and is recorded as a member of the Fountain Lodge in the Strand in 1723.

Lambert appears to have divided his artistic career equally between the theatre and landscape painting. From December 1726 he is traceable on the payroll of Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre run by John Rich, with whom he moved to the newly built Covent Garden Theatre in 1732, remaining there for the rest of his life. From 1740 he received £100 a year, paid quarterly. In its painting room Lambert is said to have ‘wrought day and night in his vocation’ (Rosenfeld and Croft-Murray, 104), and it is there that the impromptu gatherings of artists, eminent craftsmen, men of letters, and fashionable society became consolidated in 1735 into the famously convivial Beefsteak Club (subsequently known as the Sublime Society of Beefsteaks), which continued in its first incarnation until 1868. Lambert's highly regarded scenery remained in use until destroyed by fire in 1808.

In 1725 Vertue mentions Lambert's portrait by John Vanderbank, now known only from Faber's engraving of 1727. It is lettered ‘Georgius Lambert, Chorographiae Pictor’, echoing the fact that he was indeed the first English artist to devote himself exclusively to landscape painting. Richards's sale in 1811 included a ‘Portrait of Mr. Lambert by Wilson’; a portrait of him by Thomas Hudson is said to have graced the Beefsteak Club, and in 1782 Samuel Ireland claimed to own a portrait of him by Hogarth. Lambert's output can be followed through signed and dated paintings for almost every year of his life, from 1722 until 1764. It includes paintings in the classical mode inspired by Gaspard Dughet, straight copies or adaptations of Nicolas Poussin, Claude, Salvator Rosa, and the Dutch masters, topographical English landscapes and country-house views, pastoral and rustic scenes, and decorative overmantels and overdoors. A number were engraved from 1734 onwards by E. Kirkall, G. Vandergucht, F. Vivares, E. Burtenshaw, J. Mason, and P. Canot. Lambert himself produced, at some unspecified date, two etchings after Salvator Rosa, and one architectural ruin scene dedicated to James Robinson of Wandsworth. According to Vertue, Lambert took up pastel painting about 1742, and about half a dozen examples, dated between 1742 and 1746, survive; most are versions of his oil paintings. The figures in his landscapes, which vary greatly in quality, were as a rule added by other hands, among them Francis Hayman's and Hogarth's; a number of other artists such as J. I. Richards, Samuel Wale, Thomas Dall, and Jacopo Amigoni, with whom he worked in the theatre, are likely candidates. Contemporaries also often ascribed his figures to Ferg, presumably Francis Paul. In views which required shipping he collaborated with Samuel Scott, as in 1731–2 with his first major commission, a set of six views of the settlements of the East India Company (office of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, London) for its house in Leadenhall Street, and later in the lost set of five views of Mount Edgcumbe and Plymouth of 1754–5 (known from engravings).

Lambert's early style in the 1720s is close to that of John Wootton in its broad handling and strong colours. Lambert, however, understood better the principles of harmonious composition which underlay the style of Gaspard Dughet, then overwhelmingly in vogue with collectors. As a result some of his most successful pictures are confident interpretations of Gaspard's ideal landscapes (for example, Classical Landscape, 1745, Tate collection), a skill which earned him the accolade of ‘the English Poussin’. His greatest merit is to have been the first to apply these rules to the English landscape itself. His four views of Westcombe House, Blackheath (1733, Wilton House, Wiltshire), set a new bench-mark for the genre. Having broken away from the hitherto standard head-on house portrait, Lambert integrated the house into the landscape in a way which is both naturalistic and picturesque. His two panoramic views of Box Hill, Surrey, also of 1733 (Yale U. CBA; Tate collection), are the first known views of the English landscape pure and simple, painted for its own sake, without the excuse of a hunt or a country house. With his views of The Great Falls of the Tees (pastel, 1746, priv. coll.) and The Entrance to Cheddar Cliffs (1755, Englefield House, Berkshire) he is also the first to give English landscape a dramatic status equal with the famous views of Italy. Successful compositions were frequently recycled in various sizes: at least six versions of View of Dover Castle were painted between 1735 and 1751. He often painted compositionally balanced sets and pairs, contrasting evening with morning, or tranquil scenes with stormy ones, and he was also the first to introduce a sense of local weather into his views. The best examples of this are his views of Copped Hall, Essex (1746, priv. coll.), where two aspects of the distant house are contrasted by giving one a tranquil sunny setting and the other a dramatically wind-tossed one. But perhaps his greatest innovation was to combine, from the 1730s onwards, the two genres of ideal and topographical landscape into ‘capriccios’ of his own devising. Good examples are Arcadian Landscape with Sarcophagus, and (?)Beeston Castle (1736) and Capriccio with Pope's Villa at Twickenham (1762, both priv. coll.), in which the Thames valley is nearly overwhelmed by wild mountain scenery. From about 1760 his works show a greater feeling for light and hazy distance, suggesting an affinity with his younger colleague Richard Wilson, and not surprisingly some of his later works (such as Hilly Landscape with Coastal Inlet at Sunset, 1763, Cardiff) were long ascribed to Wilson.

From 1755 Lambert sat on a committee, under the chairmanship of Francis Hayman, which advocated the establishment of a national academy of arts. In December 1761 he was elected chairman of the newly established Society of Artists of Great Britain. Between 1761 and 1764 he exhibited sixteen oils at the society's annual exhibitions. In November 1764 the society petitioned for incorporation by royal charter, with Lambert as its first president. It received the royal seal on 26 January 1765, and one hopes that Lambert was aware of this before he died at his lodgings in the Great Piazza, Covent Garden, a few days later, on 31 January. He was buried on 5 February in the church close at the end of the church warden's pew door at St Paul's, Covent Garden. In his short will, dated 29 December 1764, he left everything to his faithful servant Ann Terry and named his ‘dear good friend’ John Moody of Twickenham sole executor. The handsome contents of his lodgings and a large collection of his own paintings were sold at Langfords, Covent Garden, on 18 December 1765.

Details

  • Dimensions
    Height: 31.5 in. (80.01 cm)Width: 39.5 in. (100.33 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Circle Of
    George Lambert (1700 - 1765, British)
  • Period
  • Condition
  • Gallery Location
    Stoke, GB
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU44638683462

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    Ships From: Andover, United Kingdom
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About the Seller
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Located in Stoke, United Kingdom
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LAPADA - The Association of Arts & Antiques DealersInternational Confederation of Art and Antique Dealers' AssociationsThe British Antique Dealers' Association
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