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Portrait of a womanundated

by George Washington Lambert

Artist George Lambert, born in St Petersburg, Russia, moved with his family to Australia in 1887. He trained with Julian Ashton in Sydney, studied further in Paris and then lived in London, where he had considerable success exhibiting at the Royal Academy. In 1917 Lambert was appointed an official war artist, and he returned to Australia in 1921.

During Lambert’s time in London he painted this unfinished sketch of a fashionably dressed young woman. Although the sitter is unnamed, Lambert usually painted family and friends.

The colour scheme in this work – purple green and white — is unusual and known for its association with the suffragette movement. Women had won the vote in Australia in 1902, but it was 1918 before British women were able to vote.