George Cochran Lambdin 1830-1896
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Roses in a Chinese Vase, 1872

George Lambdin was born in 1830 in Pittsburgh, but his family moved across Pennsylvania to Philadelphia when he was seven years old. Lambdin’s earlier paintings were greatly influenced by Dutch masters of the 17th and 18th centuries, and his later paintings are speculated to have been inspired by John La Farge, who shared a building in New York. Lambdin was adept at painting genre scenes, but was arguably the best floral painter of the period. His floral paintings were copied and mass-produced as prints, making Lambdin a sensation along the East coast.

The son of landscape painter James Lambdin, George took his paintings in a different direction. The Pittsburgh-born artist enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and his career effectively began with an exhibition there that included his work in 1849. His early works were often based off literary scenes from Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Alfred Tennyson. Unfortunately, most of James Lambdin’s early paintings have not been located. After studying in Europe in the mid-1850s, Lambdin returned to the United States where he began painting genre scenes and even a few Civil War subjects. In the late 1860s, George Lambdin relocated to the Tenth Street Studio Building in New York. After another trip to Europe in 1870, Lambdin’s fascination with genre painting declined and he became passionate about painting flowers, specifically roses. This change of interests coincided with an illness that forced Lambdin to move back closer to his family in Philadelphia, a city known for its deep tradition in horticulture. Lambdin remained an active member in both horticultural and artistic circles until the end of his life in 1896.