"So many people think this picture was influenced by certain movements which were going on in London. It is really a revival of my early worship of Botticelli and the Masters ... It was the beginning ... of a reverence of rule, of order."

- George Lambert 1924

"... Mr Lambert stated that a slight allegory might be suggested by the composition of his work, as it represented motherhood and the future generations, the fighting forces of the world and the administrative qualities, without which the world (the red cart wheel) would not go round smoothly."

- Herald 18 March 1921

By creating a portrait of ordinary people: a flower-seller, an administrator and a boxer, Lambert sought to parody the convention whereby only those with wealth or social status had their portraits painted. He also questioned social values by mixing three people of different social classes and through selection of a humble flower girl to represent motherhood.

While Lambert's approach was formalist, emphasising design and composition, his subject reflected various topical interests of the day, as well as his acquaintance with and admiration of Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, particularly for his ridicule of social snobbery.

Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2000


  • Title: Important people
  • Creator: George W Lambert
  • Date Created: (1914-1921)
  • Physical Dimensions: 134.7 x 171.0 cm stretcher; 152.8 x 189.4 x 8.5 cm frame
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Purchased 1930
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Signature & Date: Signed upper c., green oil inside an oval "G.W.LAMBERT/ ...". Not dated.
  • Artist Country: Russia, Australia

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