Two school friends, Charles Lambert and Charles Butler, started their company in 1834. Based in Clerkenwell, the company became one of England's leading manufacturers of cigarettes and cigars.
Lambert & Butler produced its first set of cigarette cards in 1898. Major companies had their own studios devoted entirely to the production of cigarette cards. Football cards continued to be popular and it was not uncommon for print-runs in the millions. To encourage the collecting of a particular series, the tobacco companies produced special albums that could be purchased from local tobacconists.
In the 1930s several companies produced painted portraits of football players. In 1931 Lambert & Butler, produced a series of painted portraits that included West Ham's star centre-forward, Vic Watson.