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The red shawl



George Lambert

Russia, Australia

13 Sep 1873 – 29 May 1930

Artist profile

Alternate image of The red shawl by George Lambert
Alternate image of The red shawl by George Lambert
Alternate image of The red shawl by George Lambert
Alternate image of The red shawl by George Lambert
Alternate image of The red shawl by George Lambert
  • Details

    Other Title
    The red shawl (Olave Cunninghame Graham)
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    96.8 x 76.2 cm stretcher; 124.2 x 103.8 x 8.3 cm frame :

    0 - Whole, 95.5 x 75.1 cm, SIGHT DIMENSION

    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r. corner, orange oil "G.W. LAMBERT.1913.".

    Purchased 1934
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    George Lambert

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    The subject of this theatrical portrait is Olave Cunninghame Grahame, niece of George Lambert’s friend Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, a Scottish socialist MP, horseman and Argentine cattle rancher. Lambert has painted a portrait rich in symbolic associations with his subject’s aristocratic Spanish heritage. His style of painting also recalls the strong contrasts of light and shade found in earlier Spanish paintings, instilling a sense of drama.

    Olave sits draped in a mantón de Manila, a Philippine shawl richly embroidered with floral and chinoiserie motifs popular with the Spanish diaspora and fashionable ladies of the 19th century. The draped fabric is used to emphasise her figure and accentuate her dramatic pose. Just as the red flower in Olave’s hair is a nod to flamenco dancers who use the shawls in performances, so too it suggests her own performance of identity in the painting.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 8 publications

    • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art from Australia: 2016 calender, Sydney, 2015, n.pag. (colour illus.). month of November

    • Heather Crosby, Weekend Liberal, 'Keeping the dream alive', pg. 10, Dubbo, 26 May 2001-27 May 2001, 10 (illus., detail).

    • Anne Gérard, Look, 'Oz arts: our painters in the Paris Salons', pg. 37-39, Sydney, Dec 2006-Jan 2007, 39 (colour illus.).

    • Anna Gray (Editor), Art and Artifice: George Lambert (1873-1930), 1996, cover (illus.), 9, 14, 28, 31, 33-35, 50, 53, 55, 60-61, 63, 68, 70, 84, 90, 118, 121, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 143, 148, 153, 155, 163, 171, 175, 178, 180. PS Worksheet 434

    • Anne McLaughlin, People and destiny: George Lambert and Federation, 'People and destiny: George Lambert and Federation', pg. 10-33, Dubbo, 2001, 24, 25 (colour illus.), 28, 31, 38.

    • Jane Raffan, Portrait: magazine of Australian & international portraiture, 'All dressed up', pg. 48-51, Canberra, Autumn 2013-Winter 2013, 49 (colour illus.).

    • Frank Walker, Herald Sun, 'What lies beneath 95% of gallery's art collection hidden in basement', pg. 18, Port Melbourne, 30 Dec 2007, 18 (colour illus., detail).

    • Editor Unknown (Editor), The Home (Christmas number), Sydney, Dec 1934, cover (colour illus.). Reproduced by permission of the Trustees of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Other works by George Lambert

See all 97 works