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
Recumbent Australian Soldier
Recumbent figure. Study for sculpture for St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney
56.2 x 72.9
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. "GWLAMBERT/ 1927".
Not on display
Shown in 7 exhibitions
The Sydney Art School retrospective exhibition, 1890-1933, Vickery's Galleries, Sydney, 01 Mar 1933–28 Mar 1933
150 years of Australian art (1938), National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Jan 1938–25 Apr 1938
George Washington Lambert (1968), Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 1968 -
George Lambert, 1873-1930: drawings, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 20 Feb 1993–02 May 1993
People and destiny: George Lambert and Federation:
George Lambert retrospective: heroes & icons, National Gallery of Australia, Parkes, 29 Jun 2007–16 Sep 2007
Mad through the darkness: Australian artists and the Great War, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Apr 2015–11 Oct 2015
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. cat.no. 82; titled 'Study for sculpture - Recumbent Australian Soldier'
Lionel Lindsay, 150 years of Australian art, Sydney, 1938. cat.no. 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.). cat.no. 16; titled 'Recumbent Australian Soldier'
Editor Unknown (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, Sydney, 1965, 259 (illus.).