Elie Lambert’s colourful and vibrant paintings are a favourite in the Stables Bar at The Milestone Hotel and the man himself is just as vivid and engaging as the canvases he creates. Born in Belgium, he is best known for his equestrian artwork and previously worked as both a racing journalist and bloodstock agent before he took up painting professionally. His artworks offer a captivating insight into the fast paced and glamorous world of horseracing and Red Carnation Hotels owners and founders the Tollman family have been collecting his pieces for a number of years and The Milestone Hotel has 17 of Elie’s works on display throughout the hotel. Here, he talks to us about his life on the race course.<
You’ve previously been a racing journalist, how did you first get into painting?
"To be honest, I was really a painter first and then I become a racing correspondent. Originally I wanted to pursue a career as an architect but I ended up attending the Royal Academy of Brussels which, apart from offering courses on architecture, meant I could take classes in drawing and painting.
I wasn’t a very well-dressed scholar, I had very little money and I was pretty scruffy round the edges. I was friends with a boy who was very proper and well put together, ‘spick and span’ he was called in those days, and who happened to be a hairdresser. He had many clients who were models and ladies of distinction at the time. It’s to this friend that I owe gratitude for ‘cleaning me up’ and also for introducing me to the Viscountess d’Hendecourt.
During this time, I rode horses for Viscountess d’Hendecourt and I turned out to be a decent show jumper. It was the Viscountess’ husband who introduced me to the Jockey Club as a Gentleman Rider. To become a member of the Jockey Club, you had to be sponsored by two members and for me this was the Viscount d’Hendecourt and the Baron De Crahay, the then President of the Club. Having two such esteemed sponsors was a huge honour for me, I was the youngest rider at the time and I was very proud of my silks!”
Where do you go when you’re need of artistic inspiration?
“I don’t really attribute my inspiration to any one thing. It can be as simple as getting a good night’s sleep and then it’s all there in my mind’s eye in the morning. I’m lucky that I have a type of photographic vision which seems to suit the work I do. I usually have about 10 – 12 canvases in various stages of progress at a time.”
Can you tell us the names of a few other artists who you admire?
“In my view Picasso was and still is the master of everything, he did it all before anybody else! It wasn’t all brilliant, granted, but it was very modern for the time. I’m also a fan of Jack B. Yeats, the brother of Irish poet, W. B. Yeats, among others. One or two pieces in particular are very emotive, such as his works depicting prison yards.”
What’s your favourite piece of your artwork that’s on display at The Milestone?
" I think I would have to say “A picnic at the races” which is not my favourite painting, but a souvenir of an expensive afternoon shopping. The picture features a pair of Christian Louboutin heels in the foreground, which just so happen to be one of my wife’s favourites! Unfortunately for me, Christian Louboutin also happens to have a boutique just around the corner of the Osborn Studio Gallery!”
Admire Elie Lambert’s artworks when you visit The Milestone Hotel in London.
Image Credits: Images courtesy of Red Carnation Hotels/ Elie Lambert.