Scenes of Salisbury Untouched by Time

26th November 2018

Three views of the Salisbury countryside, painted by an eminent local war artist, are being sold at auction in the city next month.

The paintings, by Henry Lamb MC RA, were purchased direct from the artist by a neighbouring farming family in Bishopstone and have come onto the market for the first time in over half a century. Two are views of the nearby River Ebble, one including the old clapper bridge at Bishopstone, while a larger landscape shows St Michael and All Angels Church at Coombe Bissett with the surrounding houses and farmland, a view that appears to have changed relatively little with the passage of time.

Lamb himself was Australian born but moved to England at a very young age, initially settling in Manchester, then abandoning his medical studies and moving to London to study at the Chelsea School of Art. He returned to medicine and qualified as a doctor at the start of the First World War where he saw service with the Royal Army Medical Corps, being awarded the Military Cross. Following the war, Lamb married Lady Margaret Pansy Felicia Pakenham (known always as Pansy), some 20 years his junior, and they settled in Coombe Bissett. At the start of the Second World War he was appointed a full time war artist and spent a lot of time in and around Salisbury, painting scenes of operations at Old Sarum airfield, and of local tank manoeuvres. During their time at Coombe Bissett the Lambs entertained a broad circle of friends including John Betjeman, Bryan Guinness, David Cecil and Katharine Asquith. Lamb wrote of this time, “O the calm of Coombe Bissett is tranquil and deep, Where Ebble flows soft in her downland asleep”.

The three paintings, executed during his long and happy stay in south Wiltshire, are being sold at Woolley and Wallis Salisbury Salerooms on 4th December 2018 with estimates starting at £2,000.

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