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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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Essington Lewis, 1952

William Dargie

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

Accession number: 2003.94

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

William Dargie (age 40 in 1952)

Essington Lewis CH (age 71 in 1952)

Subject professions

Business, trades and industry

Donated by

BHP Billiton (11 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Sir Lawrence Wackett, c. 1961 William Dargie
Sir Lawrence Wackett, c. 1961 William Dargie
Sir Lawrence Wackett, c. 1961 William Dargie
Sir Lawrence Wackett, c. 1961 William Dargie

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Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

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Professor Peter Doherty, 2001 Rick Amor
Professor Peter Doherty, 2001 Rick Amor
Professor Peter Doherty, 2001 Rick Amor
Professor Peter Doherty, 2001 Rick Amor

The Changing Face of the Scientist

Magazine article by Elizabeth Finlay, 2003

Scientists tend to conjure up images of men in white coats in labs but this is just one stereotype in an evolving history of how we have perceived scientists, and how their profession has been understood over the years.

Self portrait, late 1930s William Dargie
Self portrait, late 1930s William Dargie
Self portrait, late 1930s William Dargie
Self portrait, late 1930s William Dargie

Sir William Dargie CBE

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2003

Sir William Dargie, painter and eight times winner of the Archibald Prize for portraiture, died in Melbourne on July 26, 2003, aged 91.

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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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.