Yumi Stynes on George W Lambert  

Part of a series of new perspectives on portraiture commissioned for Archie Plus

George W Lambert  

Holiday in Essex

oil on canvas
Purchased with assistance from the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales and the Marshall Bequest Fund 1981

My friends used to holiday overseas twice a year with their three kids and Id always gawk at their photos, feeling quite envious. Not so much because they were somewhere glamorous (although they usually were), but because their kids looked so well-behaved and the mum and dad were always making love-heart eyes at each other.  

This year, because of COVID-19, they holidayed in Mudgee, and it rained for four daysThats what I think about when I look at this painting. Holiday in Essex has a touch of holiday in Mudgee about it. The mother in the picture looks A LOT like a centaur. Whether that’s deliberate or not isnt clear from my cursory googling, but I like it. Parenting ANYWHERE is a lot like hard work, but on holidays? For a mother? During a pandemic? You have to dig deep and find a mythical strength. 

Yumi Stynes is a Melbourne-born Sydney local who, for most of her life, has been suffering from an excess of sass 

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