This is one of four studies Lambert made for his sculpture Recumbent figure of a soldier (Unknown soldier) 1928–30 (cat.120) commissioned in 1928 for St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. This version would appear to be the last, and most complete, version; it is the only one which includes a drape falling from underneath the figure and over the plinth (which was not used in the completed sculpture). With its incisive lines and subtle modelling, it has a sculptural aspect.
Lambert did not make a small-scale version for this sculpture, but worked directly from the preliminary drawings and his live model to the full-scale work. His sculpture became a three-dimensional realisation of his drawings.
‘It is an all-out performance in which his concept is fully expressed even to a feeling for bronze’, wrote the artist Douglas Dundas of this drawing. He continued, ‘the overall design is simple with a strong emphasis on the forms within it – the considered placing of hands, the searching analysis of the uniform and details of accoutrement. Yet all these are subordinate to the poignant evocation of youthful sacrifice’ (AGNSWQ 1965).