Holiday in Essex' was the last of Lambert's important group of Velásquez-inspired portrait groups. This monumental painting displays a scale and opulence of paint-handling exemplifying Lambert's inspiration to paint in the 'grand manner'. Painted in his London studio, the subject was derived from the family holiday at Mersea Island in Essex and depicts Lambert's wife Amy and sons Constant and Maurice. Arthur José described its conception in 'The Art of George Lambert A.R.A.', in 1924:
'It began as a deliberate attempt to emulate the Spanish (or rather the continental) convention of the days of Velasquez ... the placing of the figures and the background, and the lighting of the studio was so arranged as to produce the traditional chiaroscuro of that epoch. The landscape, though remembered from Essex, was built up on a high platform in the studio, on which the group was posed, pony and all ... The artist in fact, was testing himself: "Can I, too, paint with the methods devised so long ago and approved by tradition?" '