George Cochran Lambdin

(6 January 1830 - 28 January 1896)

American Victorian artist, best known for his paintings of flowers. The son of portrait painter James Reid Lambdin, he was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and exhibited there beginning in 1848. During the American Civil War, he worked with the United States Sanitary Commission, distributing medicines and bandages to troops in the field. He painted genre scenes of camp life, and domestic scenes that often included soldiers.

He was in poor health, beginning in middle age, and settled in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. There, he concentrated on painting flowers, especially roses, for the last 25 years of his life. Many of these paintings were copied as chromolithographs and mass-produced.

He was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1868, and was an Academician of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He died in Germantown in January 1896.

Lambdin, George Cochran, N. A. (Am.) Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1830, but has lived since childhood in Philadelphia, with the exception of two years, 1868 to 1870, spent in New York. He studied under his father, a portrait-painter of some repute. In 1855, he went to Europe, spending two years on the Continent, chiefly in Munich and Paris. In 1858, he sent to the National Academy, New York, a picture called "Our Sweetest Songs are those which tell of Saddest Thoughts," his first exhibited work. The original study of this is now in the Suydam Collection of the National Academy. Two years later he exhibited "The Dead Wife," which was selected by the Committee to go to the Paris Exposition of 1867. This was followed by "Twilight Reverie," "Ask Me No More," and kindred works, of a sentimental cast illustrative of young maidenhood. For some years afterwards he devoted himself exclusively to portraits of children, of which "The Little Knitter" (belonging to Mr. Adams of Boston) is among the best. During his New York residence, in 1868, he was elected a member of the National Academy. After a short visit to Europe, chiefly for the benefit of his health, in 1870, he settled at Germantown, near Philadelphia, cultivating in his garden fine roses and flowers, to the painting of which he has since turned his attention with marked success.

Artists of the Nineteenth Century, Works, Biographical Sketches, Clara Erskine Clement and Laurence Hutton, 1879.

George Cochran Lambdin was born in Pittsburgh in 1830, the son of James Reid Lambdin, a well known portrait painter. He received most of his early training from his father. In a 1838, George moved to Philadelphia where he lived until his death in 1896. In 1848, at the early age of 18, Lambdin exhibited his first painting at the Pennsylvania Academy. During the early period and through the 1860's, Lambdin's success came from painting genre scenes with much sentimentality. Childhood and civil war scenes were at the forefront.

The painting of "Governor Wiinthrop and his wife with the Boston Lancers" (who can be identified by their distinct uniforms) in front of a civil war encampment shows strong elements of Lambdin's early style as well as hints of where he would go later in his career, namely in the flowers. While today George Cochran Lambdin is well known for his paintings of flowers and genre scenes, his civil war paintings are quite rare and sought after. In fact, the record price for a Lambdin is held by a civil war scene. Paintings by George Cochran Lambdin can be found in major institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

George Cochran Lambdin was an American painter best known for his still life paintings of flowers, specially roses; he also painted genre and Civil War scenes. His paintings may be found at Harvard University Art Museums, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D. C. Lambdin was son of the academic painter James Reid Lambdin. During the 1860s, Lambdin focused on the study and painting of roses in vases, arrangements, or against stark backgrounds. These works were reproduced in prints and distributed by Louis Prang & Co., making Lambdin a sensation along the East coast.

Birth: 6 January, 1830, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death: 28 January, 1896, Germantown, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Obituary from The Germantown Guide, Saturday, February 1, 1896.
Burial: Saint Lukes Episcopal Churchyard, Germantown, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA

The Brilliant Life Closed of a Philadelphia Limner Whose Gifted Hand has Contributed to Private and Public Art Collections.
George Cochran Lambdin, the artist, whose paintings of roses are widely known, died at his home on Price street, last Tuesday, at the age of 66, after a lingering illness that practically took him out of the world of active art for the past eight years. He was the eldest son of the late James Reid Lambdin, the distinguished portrait painter, and a brother of Dr. A, C. Lambdin, an associate editor of The Times, and was born at Pittsburgh, January 6, 1830. The family removed to Philadelphia in 1837, where in a few years the son George entered his father's studio and joined a class at the Academy of the Fine Arts. In the catalogue of the Academy exhibits of 1848, his name appears with a picture of "Dorcas Distributing Garments to the Poor." In each of the following years he exhibited pictures of children, and in 1851, the year of his majority, the catalogue records "The Lady of Shalott," a large romantic composition of the landing at Camelot; "Sir Bedivere." "Queen Margaret and the Robber," and "The Nativity." During the Civil War Mr. Lambdin spent a great deal of time with the Army of the Potomac in the service of the Sanitary Commission, seeing much of the hardships of camp and field there, as well as in the emergency campaigns and from these associations came such pictures as the well-known "Winter Quarters" and others of the same kind, as well as several large compositions of rustic life and character, in which the soldier holds a prominent place. About 1867, Mr. Lambdin took a studio in New York, which was then the home of most of the leading artists, and in 1868, he was elected a National Academician. Here his health broke down, and after two or three years he returned to Philadelphia, where the remainder of his professional life was passed. Some twenty-five years ago he became very much interested in floriculture, and began to give special attention to painting flowers and studying their growth and form, and it was mainly as a flower painter that he was spoken of in late years, and in this he made his largest professional success. Mr. Lambdin wrote well and talked well on the subjects which most interested him, and in various ways contributed to the advancement of American art. Besides his membership of the National Academy of Design, he was all Academician of the Pennsylvania Academy and an active member, and for some time, president of the Artists' Fund Society of Philadelphia and other artistic associations. For a time be gave instructions in painting at the School of Design and he had also a number of private pupils in his studio. The funeral services took place Thursday afternoon at St. Luke's Church, conducted by the rector of St. Luke's, the Rev. Dr. Upjohn, and the Rev. Dr. Murphy, rector of St. Michael's, of which Mr. Lambdin was one of the founders and for many years vestryman. Among those present in the church were a delegation, headed by the venerable John Sartain, from the Artists' Fund Society, who had sent a laurel wreath that was laid upon the coffin, with a cluster of the roses the artist had loved so well. The choir of St. Luke's sang the burial anthem and the hymns, but only the cross-bearer and attendants accompanied the clergy to the grave, where the committal was said by Dr. Murphy.
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