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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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Essington Lewis

1952
Sir William Dargie CBE

oil on canvas (frame: 114.0 cm x 87.5 cm, support: 102.0 cm x 76.0 cm)

Essington Lewis CH (1881-1961) was chief general manager of BHP from 1938 to 1950. He became general manager in 1921, just before nearly 5 000 men were dismissed because of competition from overseas steel. However, by 1934 the Newcastle works was far ahead of most of its European rivals, thanks largely to reforms Lewis had introduced. Following an alarming pre-war tour of Japan he recommended the stockpiling of raw materials and armaments, and in 1940 he was appointed director of munitions, a post which carried enormous power. The blunt industrialist hated publicity and refused recommendation for a knighthood, but John Curtin initiated his appointment in 1943 as Companion of Honour. He died as he had wished to, on horseback, at the age of eighty. Among the papers he left was a personal document the bald title of which captured Lewis's essence. It was 'I AM WORK'

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of BHP Billiton 2003
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Roger Dargie and Faye Dargie

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Sir William Dargie CBE (age 40 in 1952)

Essington Lewis CH (age 71 in 1952)

Subject professions

Business, trades and industry

Donated by

BHP Billiton (11 portraits)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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