Lynton Lamb was born in Nizambabad, India on 15 April 1907. Like Ardizzone, he soon returned to England with his family and spent his childhood in London and at Kingswood School, Bath. On the death of his father, he was forced to leave school and work in an estate agent’s office. However, he was able to attend evening classes in life drawing under Randolph Schwabe at Camberwell School of Art. After a year, he became a full-time student at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, studying under Noel Rooke, Bernard Meninsky and A S Hartrick (1928-30).
From then he pursued a varied career, in which he balanced painting, illustration and other forms of design. While sharing a studio with Victor Pasmore, Lamb associated himself with the Euston Road School, and its sober scrutiny of society certainly affected his approach to illustration. In 1930, he joined the Oxford University Press as a production adviser, and first worked to redesign the bindings of its prayer books and bibles. (In 1953, he would design the binding of the Coronation Bible.) However, he soon graduated to the design of book jackets for the World’s Classics series, and worked on numerous other projects, including an illustrated edition of Madame Bovary . In five years he gained the experience and expertise to become an able teacher of Book Production at the Central School (1935-39). At the same time, he developed as a painter, holding his first solo show at the Storran Gallery and publishing The Purpose of Painting in 1936; Preparation for Painting would follow in 1954. In 1939, he joined the London Group. He also began his involvement inthe preparation of architectural decorations of the Orient Liners (1935-50). During the Second World War, Lamb was drafted into the army where he worked for six years as a camouflage staff officer. After his army service, he continued with OUP, one of his first responsibilities being to work as art editor of the ‘Oxford Illustrated Trollope’. In accordance with his own views that illustrations should reflect life accurately, he spent much time in detailed and thorough research for any book which he illustrated. When he actually got down to the work of drawing, he employed a variety of techniques for illustrations: wood engraving, pen and ink, chalk drawn directly on lithographic stones, chalk on zinc plates. His methods were explained in Drawing for Illustration (1962).He was head of lithographyat the Slade School of Art (1950-71) and at the Royal College of Art (1956-70), and also taught at the Ruskin School in Oxford. Engaged in a great deal of commercial work, including stamp designs, Lamb was President of the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers (1951-53). He achieved many further honours during his lifetime, including the election to the Society of Wood Engravers, the fellowship of the Society of Industrial Artists and the Royal Society of Arts. In 1974 he was named Royal Designer to Industry. In 1973 he suffered the first of several strokes, which left him partially paralysed for the rest of his life, and he died in September 1977. He lived latterly at Sandon, near Chelmsford, Essex.