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Australian art

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Recumbent figure



George W Lambert

Russia, Australia

1873 - 1930


Lambert continued to work on the commemoration of the war long after its end. In 1928 he received a commission from the Roman Catholic Sailors and Soldiers society to create a life-sized bronze sculpture of a recumbent soldier. He made four sketches in preparation for the final design, which he modelled at full-size with artist Arthur Murch. The sculpture
to the fallen was unveiled at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney on 26 July 1931.

Though he seems to gesture with his right hand towards a bullet hole in his chest, the young soldier nevertheless appears serene and at peace in death. Lambert represented the uniform and equipment of the soldier with great accuracy, but this is a vision of heroic sacrifice that grants the digger an ideal death far removed from the reality of trench warfare.

from the exhibition 'Mad through the darkness: Australian artists and the Great War', 2015


Other Titles

Recumbent Australian Soldier

Recumbent figure. Study for sculpture for St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney



Media category


Materials used



56.2 x 72.9

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. "GWLAMBERT/ 1927".


Purchased 1941


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

George W Lambert

Works in the collection


Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 6 publications


John Baily', Fifth Adelaide Festival of Arts 1968: Special exhibitions at the Art Gallery of South Australia, 'George Washington Lambert', pg. 27-28, Adelaide, 1968, 32. 82; titled 'Study for sculpture - Recumbent Australian Soldier'

Lionel Lindsay, 150 years of Australian art, Sydney, 1938. 583

Anne McLaughlin, People and destiny: George Lambert and Federation, 'People and destiny: George Lambert and Federation', pg. 10-33, Dubbo, 2001, 31, 32 (colour illus.). Dubbo and Bathurst only; titled 'Recumbent figure of a soldier'

Sydney Ure Smith and Leon Gellert (Editors), Art in Australia [series 3, no. 33], Sydney, Aug 1930-Sep 1930. plate no. 13; titled 'Recumbent Figure. Study for Sculpture for St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney'

John Young and Henry Gibbons, The Sydney Art School retrospective exhibition 1890-1933, Sydney, 1933, (illus.). 16; titled 'Recumbent Australian Soldier'

Editor Unknown (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, Sydney, 1965, 259 (illus.).