Thea Proctor was an important figure in George W Lambert's life. Both friend and great admirer of his work, she was a prominent Australian painter, printmaker and teacher with whom he later jointly established the Contemporary Art Group. They had both returned to Australia in 1921 after two decades in England. Proctor had been a daily visitor to his home in London, and posed regularly for his portraits.
Lambert's charming early portrait of his friend revealed his admiration for leading society portrait painters of the day, in particular Charles Furse. This was Lambert's first painting to be exhibited at London's Royal Academy in 1904, where it was prominently hung.
Portrait of Miss Thea Proctor
oil on canvas
90.0 x 69.8 cm sight; 92.0 x 71.6 cm stretcher; 113.2 x 92.8 x 5.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, red oil "GWL [monogram]". Not dated.
Purchased under the terms of the Florence Turner Blake Bequest 1961
Where the work was made
Shown in 14 exhibitions
Royal Academy of Arts, 1904, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1904–1904
Liverpool autumn exhibition of modern pictures, in oil and water colours (1904), Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, Sep 1904–Dec 1904
Commemorative exhibition of works by late members, winter exhibition, 1933, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 07 Jan 1933–11 Mar 1933
Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1946), Education Department Gallery [Loftus Street], Sydney, 24 Aug 1946–11 Sep 1946
(Unknown) (Macquarie Galleries) (1961), Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, 15 Aug 1961–19 Aug 1961
Purchases and Acquisitions for 1961, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Apr 1962–25 May 1962
George Washington Lambert (1968), Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 1968 -
Two hundred years of Australian painting : Nature, people and art in the southern continent:
Cover up: the art of magazine covers in Australia:
- Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney 19 May 1995–13 Aug 1995
- The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne 31 Aug 1995–08 Oct 1995
- National Library of Australia, Canberra 26 Oct 1995–31 Oct 1996
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
The Edwardians: Secrets and Desire:
The world of Thea Proctor (2005), National Portrait Gallery [Old Parliament House], Canberra, 08 Apr 2005–31 Jul 2005
George Lambert retrospective: heroes & icons, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 29 Jun 2007–16 Sep 2007
Genius and ambition: the Royal Academy of Arts, London 1768-1918, Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria, 02 Mar 2014–09 Jun 2014
Referenced in 37 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 89 (colour illus.).
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, 28. cat.no. 3
Candice Bruce, Brought to Light: Australian Art 1850–1965 from the Queensland Art Gallery collection, 'Family and a Special Friend. George Washington Lambert Portrait group (The mother)', pg. 102-7, Brisbane, 1998, 104.
Jean Campbell, Early Sydney moderns : John Young and the Macquarie Galleries 1916-1946, Sydney, 1988, 40.
Face to face: Australian portraits, Sydney, 1986, (colour illus.). cat.no. 4
Mary Eagle, A tribute to William Dobell, 'The strength of life', pg. 10-41, Canberra, 1999, 31.
Juliana Engberg, Art and Australia (Vol. 35, No. 2), 'Of his time', pg. 194-195, Sydney, 1997, 194 (colour illus.).
Sarah Engledow', The world of Thea Proctor, 'The world of Thea Proctor', pg. 16-84, Canberra, 2005, 16 (colour illus.), 27, 179.
Impressionist painters 1881-1930, St Kilda, 1971, 122 (colour illus.). plate no. 101
Art and Artifice: George Lambert (1873-1930), 1996, cover (illus.), 68 (colour illus.).
George Lambert (1873-1930) catalogue raisonné: paintings and sculpture, drawings in public collections, Perth, 1996, 12. cat.no. P50
Anne Gray, The Edwardians: secrets and desires, 'The Edwardians', pg. 11-72, Canberra, 2004, 65, 107-108 (colour illus., detail), 111, 113 (colour illus.), 185 (colour illus.). cat.no. 66
Famous people: a selective who's who from works in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1981, cover (illus.), 14 (illus.).
Robert Holden, Cover Up: The art of magazine covers in Australia, Sydney, 1995, 92.
The art of Australia, 'The expatriates 1890-1930', pg. 93-112, Melbourne, 1970, 12, 98, 99 (illus.), 326. plate no. 33
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 125 (colour illus.).
Arthur Jose, The Art of George W. Lambert, Sydney, 1924, 11.
Amy Lambert, Thirty years of an artist's life : the career of G.W. Lambert, A.R.A, Sydney, 1938, 38.
Australian Encyclopaedia Vol. 6, Sydney, 1996, 2334 (colour illus.).
Jan Minchin, The prints: Thea Proctor, 'Thea Proctor: A biography', pg. 6-13, Sydney, 1980, 2 (illus.), 6.
National Gallery of Australia, The Edwardians: secrets and desires, 'Society and exhibition portraits', Canberra, 2004, (illus.). Illustrates one of the works in the thematic room in Gallery 1: Society and exhibition portraits.
New South Wales Society of Artists, Society of Artists Annual Exhibition (1946), Sydney, 1946. cat.no. 182
Two hundred years of Australian painting: nature, people and art in the southern continent, Tokyo, 1992, 110 (colour illus.). cat.no. 59
Royal Academy of Arts, The Royal Academy of Arts, 1904, London, 1904. cat.no. 531
Look, Sydney, Mar 2005, 4 (colour illus.). Colour advertisement for 'The world of Thea Proctor' exhibition, NGA, Canberra, 8 April - 19 June 2005.
Masterpieces of Australian Painting, Sydney, 1984, 79 (colour illus.).
Modernism and Feminism Australian Women Artists 1900-1940, Sydney, 1996, 154 (colour illus.), 155. Illustration 86
Author Unknown, The Art Gallery of New South Wales Picture Book, Sydney, 1972, 89 (colour illus.).
Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown and Unknown, Genius and ambition: The Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1768-1918, 'Australian artists at Burlington House', pg. 164-197, London, 2014, 175 (colour illus.), 206. cat.no. 105
Unknown, The Lamberts. George, Constant & Kit, London, 1986, 44, 45, 46, 59 (colour illus.). plate no. 5
Editor Unknown (Editor), Art and Australia (Vol. 28, No. 2), Sydney, Winter 1990, 215 (colour illus.), 216.
Unknown, Liverpool autumn exhibition of modern pictures, in oil and water colours, Liverpool, 1904. cat.no. 1211
To paint a war: The lives of the Australian artists who painted the Great War, 1914-1918, Port Melbourne, 2017, 48 (colour illus.).
Society of Artists book 1946-47, Sydney, 1946-1947, 33 (colour illus.).
Parade: The story of fashion in Australia, 'Edwardian Splendour', pg. 39-57, Pymble, 1998, 42 (colour illus.), 43.