George Bell, who studied at the National Gallery of Victoria
School, continued his studies in Paris and London in the early
1900's. One of his early formal paintings, The
conversation was painted when he was overseas and was first
exhibited at the Modern Society of Portrait Painters in 1911.
Praised by Arthur Streeton in the Argus on the 14th September
1920 for "the vigour of the brushwork…. charm of colour (and)
strength of drawing", the painting is thought to depict the artists
George Lambert and Thea Proctor, and at the far right, Mrs Amy
Lambert, all dressed in elegant evening dress. The tactile
quality of the clothing, especially the subtle layering of colour
in the fabrics; the texture of Thea Proctor's dress; and the bead
embroidered fabric of Mrs Lambert's sleeve is emphasized by the
light falling on the women who are gathered on a balcony with the
faint lights of the city below.