Sculptor born in Paris, the elder son of the painter George Washington Lambert ARA and brother of the composer Constant Lambert. He was apprenticed to the sculptor Francis Derwent Wood, 1918–23, assisting him on the Machine Gun Corps Memorial, Hyde Park Corner, and attended life classes at Chelsea School of Art, 1920–25. Throughout his career he sculpted portraits, figures and animal subjects in stone and bronze. He had his first solo exhibition at the Claridge Gallery, London, in 1927. Other exhibitions include Seven and Five Society, 1928–31; Messrs Tooths’ Gallery, 1929; and Lefevre Gallery, 1932 and 1934. In 1932 the Tate accepted the gift of his alabaster carving, Swan. At his first appearance at the RA Summer Exhibition in 1938, he showed a bronze Head of a Woman, which was purchased under the terms of the Chantrey Bequest and presented to the Tate. In the same year Lambert was elected FRBS but resigned in 1948. In 1949, however, he was awarded the Society’s silver medal for his Pegasus and Bellerephon, shown at the RA in 1948, and in 1951 he was re-elected. He saw active service in the Second World War but was invalided out in 1941; in the same year he was elected ARA but only began exhibiting again in 1945. He and his wife spent the war years living with friends in Bosham, Surrey, firstly while he convalesced and latterly while he worked for the Government building motor torpedo boats nearby at Itchenor Shipyard. In 1950–58, he was Master of the RA Sculpture School and was elected RA in 1952. In 1956, his bronze statue of Margot Fonteyn was another purchase by the Chantrey Bequest; this is now at the Royal Ballet School, White Lodge, Richmond Park. His public sculptures include an equestrian statue of George V, 1936–48, Adelaide, South Australia; a statue of Viscount Nuffield, 1944–49, Guy’s Hospital; six groups of the Angel of Light Overcoming the Powers of Darkness, plus two decorative armillary sphere finials, 1958–60, former Associated Electrical Industries Building, Grosvenor Place, London; Grand Fountain, 1958–62, Presidential Palace, Baghdad, Iraq; and Mother and Child (water sculpture), 1962, Basildon New Town, Essex.
Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 274–75; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, pp. 194–96; H. Fletcher, ‘Lambert, Maurice Prosper (1901–1964)’, rev. V. Nicolson, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; Mapping Sculpture; V. Nicholson, The Sculpture of Maurice Lambert, Aldershot, Hants, 2002; Royal Academy of Arts website.
Terry Cavanagh November 2022
Maurice Lambert by Walter Stoneham, bromide print, 1953 (photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London)