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Sir Ian McLennan
, c. 1978

by Bryan Westwood

oil on board (frame: 110.8 cm x 96.0 cm)

Sir Ian McLennan KBE (1909-1998) was chairman of BHP from 1971 to 1977. Dux of Scotch College Melbourne in 1927, he studied electrical engineering before joining BHP in 1933. He worked in Whyalla and then in Kalgoorlie before becoming boss of the limestone quarries in Devonport, Tasmania in 1935. When war broke out he was in the middle of a BHP cadetship in Newcastle; by the war's end he had risen to the job of assistant manager. Through the 1950s and 1960s he progressed steadily through the ranks of BHP to gain the top job in 1971. He was three times President of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and business leader of the Australian Trade Mission to China in 1973. He served on many advisory bodies including the Immigration Planning Council, the Joint War Production Committee, the Ian Clunies Ross Memorial Foundation, the ANU and the CSIRO Advisory Councils and the Australia-China and Australia-Japan business committees.

Bryan Westwood was born in Lima, where his Australian father worked as an engineer, and educated in Buenos Aires before moving to Australia to complete a degree in economics at the University of Sydney. He pursued careers in economics, advertising and film before his friendships with Jeffrey Smart and Justin O'Brien prompted his decision to become an artist. He developed a specialisation in still life and portraiture, working in a refined and meticulous style often characterised as photorealist. He won the Archibald Prize in 1989 with a portrait of Elwyn Lynn, and again in 1992 with one of Paul Keating. In 1992 he was chosen as artist for the Gallipoli pilgrimage of 58 World War I veterans, producing a number of portraits of the old warriors that are now in the collection of the Australian War Memorial. The National Portrait Gallery owns his portraits of Bart Cummings, James Fairfax, Sir Vincent Farifax, Sir Warwick Fairfax, and Justin O'Brien. His portraits of Malcolm Fraser and Paul Keating are currently on loan to the gallery.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of BHP Billiton 2003
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2003.98