George Lambert in the war
In 1917 the Australian artist and cartoonist Will Dyson was appointed Australia's first official war artist. Nine other Australian artists working in London were subsequently appointed, as well as five artists serving with the Australian Imperial Force. After turning down a major's commission as an official Canadian war artist, Lambert was invited to join the Australian Light Horse as the official war artist on their campaign in Palestine against the Ottoman army. He arrived in Egypt in January 1918, then traveled through Palestine, Jordan and Syria. Official war artists were expected to produce 25 paintings, but Lambert produced many more landscape sketches in oil, as well as many pencil sketches of the troops he met. He was greatly taken by the beauty of Palestine. 'These
sand-hills take on shapes and curves, cut concave and convex, interwoven into
an entrancing pattern, here rhythmical, there jagged and eccentrically posed', he wrote, 'with all the knowledge the artist may, nay must, bring to bear, he need only
copy and he achieves art; but it takes doing'.