The Irish landscape artist, portrait and figure painter Charles Lamb was born in County Armagh. He studied painting and life-drawing at night classes at Belfast School of Art, before winning a scholarship to the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin in 1917 where he came under the influence of Sean Keating. He began exhibiting at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1919, and thereafter averaged about 4 paintings per show until his final years. The following year he painted his masterpiece “Dancing At A Northern Crossroads”.
In 1922 Charles Lamb went to Connemara, settling in a remote Irish-speaking part of County Galway. In 1923 he was elected ARHA and from then on year-after-year he held regular solo exhibitions, showcasing over 50 landscapes in 1924 at the St Stephens Gallery. In 1925, he travelled in Ireland and in 1926 he toured Brittany. More exhibitions followed, in Belfast, Waterford, Brussels, Boston and New York. In 1928 he visited the Aran Islands. In 1930 (along with Hans Iten, Frank McKelvey and others) he was elected one of the first members of the Ulster Academy of Arts. In 1935 he returned to Connemara where he established an art summer school. In 1938 he was elected a full member of the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA). Later that year he travelled to Germany. In 1941 he exhibited in Northern Ireland at Belfast and Portadown, while his “Bringing Home The Seaweed” was presented to the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin. He continued painting actively right up until his death in 1964.
In a different way to the idealised scenes of Sean Keating, Charles Lamb was one of the first painters to paint a type of heroic Western peasant, thus marking the difference both between the rural and the urban, and between Irish culture and one with English, European and American influence.
Charles Lamb’s paintings are represented in many collections including: the Hugh Lane Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin; the National Gallery of Ireland; the Limerick City Art Gallery; Ulster Museum, Belfast; Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork; and many others.