Australian Boyhood: The Lambert Family

Figure 1.--Attaching a photograph of Constant and Maurice Lambert, the sons of George Lambert and Australian Realist painter. The photo is dated 1912. Constant was born in 1905 and Maurice 1901, so they are 7 and 11 years old, respectively.

George Lambert (1873-1930) was the famboyant and often hard-hearted son of a Baltimore railway engineer and an English mother. Raised in the outback of New South Wales, he eventually established himself as Australia's leading painter. I don't have a much information about how the children were raised. Their mother appears to havev preferred long, but not shoulder length hair. The boys were dressed in the increasingly popular style of short pants and knee socks during the 1910s. His son Constant (1905-1951) was the first English composer to be commissioned by Diaghilev; a driving spirit behind the early years of the royal Balllet (and a close companion of Margo Fonteyn); a champion of jazz; and the center of a wide social circle--including the Sitwells, Dylan Thomas, and Wyndham Lewis in Londons's Fitzrovia. A heavy drinker, he died in 1951 at the age of 45 years, and was immortalized by Anthony Powell in A Dance to the Music of Time, Kit Lambert, "the Svengali of rock and roll," discovered and managed The Who, started Britain's first successful independent record compamy, ruined his life with heroin, and, it is rumored, was murdered in 1981. Quite a family. An English reader writes, "While looking through the biography pages I was most interested to read the page relating to The Lambtons as they lived not too far from me. There is a folk tale called the Lambton Worm, which I learned about when I was around 9 years old and which fascinated me." The Lambton Worm is one of northeast England's best known fables. There are many variations of the story. The basic story is about John Lambton who was the heir to the Lambton Estate and fought an epic battle with a giant worm that was terrorising neighboring villages.

Figure 2.--This image is dated 1913.


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Created: March 25, 1998
Last updated: 6:52 PM 7/5/2007