who landed at Gallipoli as a War Artist
||The Landing at
Light Horse Regiment (dismounted) at the battle of the Nek.
Oil on canvas 152.5 x 305.7 cm (AWM 7965)
||Turkish trench on
Johnston's Jolly, with posed 'corpse' in front. The 'corpse' is 1269
Trooper William Henry Spruce, 7 Light Horse Regiment, wearing tunic,
slouch hat, trousers and boots, with rifle nearby, lying prone during
the Gallipoli campaign. The work is described in the artist's rough
catalogue entry for GAL 19 as 'Study for dead trooper and detail of
Turkish Trench, ground and scrub, Gallipoli'.
origin of the title 'Pro Patria' is unknown. Lambert painted the work
in two sessions. On 23 February 1919 he wrote: 'The weather improved
on this morning and with my light horseman I footed it to a very
interesting Turkish trench on a hill called 'Johnson's Jollie [sic]'
and there did quite a good correct study of Spruce, the light
horseman, as a stiff. It was quite exciting in that I had the right
kind of man in right clothes and right ground. In addition to correct
surroundings & light I may mention the equipment - webbing
equipment. In fact everything right. A four hours' stretch and worth
it!' (George Lambert to Amy Lambert, 23 February 1919; Lambert 1938,
p. 107); and on 4 March 1919: 'after Mungaree I went over to
Johnston's Jollie [sic] & finished right out the sketch I began a
week ago of Spruce posing for a stiff. (George Lambert to Amy Lambert,
4 March 1919; Lambert 1938, p. 111). AWM image
of the renowned Australian poet "Banjo" Paterson who was in
charge of the Australian Light Horse Remount Unit in Moascar when
Lambert arrived there in 1918. Lambert had illustrated Paterson's
poems for 'The Bulletin', an Australian magazine.
He gave up law to become a
journalist, and went to South Africa to report on the Boer War. When
World War I broke out he sought work as a war correspondent, but
failed to gain it.
He then went to work driving an
ambulance in France, and later became a Remount Officer with the
Australian forces then in Egypt. AWM image &