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The sculptor (George Lambert and Arthur Murch), c.1929

Harold Cazneaux

gelatin silver photograph (backing sheet: 30.0 cm x 27.0 cm, image/sheet: 23.8 cm x 22.5 cm)

Arthur Murch (1902–1989) trained in painting at Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo’s school between 1921 and 1925; and in sculpture with Rayner Hoff at the East Sydney Technical College. It was his sculpture that won him the 1925 Travelling Art Scholarship, which he spent most profitably in Italy. Later, his chief mentor was George Lambert (1873–1930), whom he assisted in Sydney from 1927 to 1930. At that time, Lambert was weakened by remnant malaria, and he greatly valued Murch’s strength, calling him the ‘pocket Hercules’. They worked together on the figure for the tomb of the unknown soldier in St Mary’s Cathedral, and Murch completed the Henry Lawson Memorial after Lambert died in 1930. In 1941 Murch won the competition to execute the memorial relief in honour of Dame Nellie Melba in the Sydney Town Hall. Perhaps because he had trained as an engineer, Murch sculpted in all sorts of materials including fibreglass, rubber, pottery and cement – the latter when restoring Norman Lindsay’s garden sculptures. A foundation member of the Australian Academy of Art, Murch won the Society of Artists’ Medal in 1935 and the Archibald Prize for 1949.

It is thought that this photograph may have been in George Lambert’s studio when he died, and that Arthur Murch, who continued to work in the studio, may have taken it as a souvenir of his friend.


Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2015

Accession number: 2015.67

Currently on display: Gallery Four (Liangis Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Harold Cazneaux (age 51 in 1929)

Arthur Murch (age 27 in 1929)

George Lambert (age 56 in 1929)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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