Henry Lamb was born in Adelaide, although he was brought up in Manchester where he studied at the Manchester University medical school. Following graduation, he decided to abandon medicine for painting. He moved to London in 1905 where he attended the Chelsea School of Art and the Rossetti Studios, studying under William Orpen and Augustus John. In 1907 and 1911 he continued his studies at La Palette in Paris under Jacques-Émile Blanche. During this period he also spent some time in Brittany, made his first visit to Ireland and became a founder member of the Camden Town Group and of the London Group.
During the war he returned to medicine and served as a medical officer. His first solo exhibition was held at the Alpine Club Gallery in London in 1922 and his large portrait of Lytton Strachey, which featured in the exhibition, brought him to public notice. He was appointed an official war artist during the Second World War, during which time he painted a large number of portraits of soldiers. Lamb was elected a member of the Royal Academy in 1949 and he was a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery from 1942 and of the Tate Gallery from 1944 until 1951.
Lamb’s work reflects the experiences of his life, such as his Breton and Irish subjects and his paintings of conflict and soldiers reflecting his time serving in the army and as a war artist. His work is represented in several collections, in particular that of the Tate.