Portrait of William Hesketh Lever, Later 1st Viscount of Leverhulme

LL 3114


Lever commisioned a portait of his wife (LL 3115) from Fildes on the advice of the art dealers Thomas Angew & Sons in 1896, and its success encouraged him to commision a portrait of himself in March 1897. Lever is here shown as a prosperous and confident business man. Artist and patron became good friends. Lever bought many of Fildes' paintings, and Fildes opened Lever's ‘Art exhibition to celebrate the Coronation of King Edward VII’ at Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight on 21 June 1902. Fildes gave a speech to mark the occasion, pleading for the elevated role of public art galleries in industrial communities. His words may have influenced Lever and his decision to found the Lady Lever Art Gallery. Eventually the artist's son, LV Fildes, became secretary of Lever Brothers, the great soap making firm owned by Lever.