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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The sculptor (George Lambert and Arthur Murch)

c. 1929
Harold Cazneaux

gelatin silver photograph on paper (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

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

George Lambert

'Self Portrait with Gladioli'

Portrait story

An examination of the life and times of George Lambert through the gesture and pose in his self portrait. 

Ethel Turner
Ethel Turner
Ethel Turner
Ethel Turner

Moving in creative circles

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2008

Harold Cazneaux's portraits of influential Sydneysiders included Margaret Preston and Ethel Turner, both important figures in the development of ideas about Australian identity and culture.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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