Leonard Lord, like many a Coventry lad, joined the thriving motor industry at an early age. He was taken on by Morris in 1923 and quickly showed that he was a practical man and quick-witted thinker. He soon rose to be in charge of the rationalisation of Morris factories and companies and proved that he had a sharp eye for efficiency. Although he had once been a favourite of William Morris, the two fell out and Lord angrily resigned in 1937. It wasn’t long before he resurfaced at rival Austin, where he took on the role of modernizing the company, much as he had done with Morris. By 1946, he was Austin’s Chairman. In 1952, when Austin and Morris merged to form the British Motor Corporation, Lord’s force of character meant he had the upper hand over his old boss, William Morris. Lord soon became sole Chairman of the new organisation. He was described as a ‘rough diamond’, very direct in nature and quick to assess how he thought a problem ought to be tackled. Lord was knighted in 1954 and became a peer in 1962, soon after his retirement. This portrait was one that hung in the boardroom of Austin’s Longbridge factory in Birmingham. Maurice Codner, a well-respected portrait artist, painted the portrait of Kathleen Ferrier which hangs in the National Portrait Gallery and the last portrait of HM King George VI before his death.
Where to see this painting?
Heritage Motor Centre
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