About this artwork

In 1922 Reith became the first general manager of the British Broadcasting Corporation and from 1927 he was its Director-General. He had real vision about the role of the BBC in the life of the nation and was largely responsible for establishing the public service ethos of broadcasting and his standards (often imposed dictatorially) are still just evident. This painting is a copy of one commissioned by the BBC. Reith selected the artist who has successfully conveyed his sitter's determined nature. A large scar, received during the First World War, is just visible on his left cheek.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    John Reith, 1st Baron Reith of Stonehaven, 1889 - 1971. Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation
  • date created:
    1933
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    127.50 x 102.30 cm (framed: 147.10 x 121.90 x 8.30 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1981
  • accession number:
    PG 2475
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Sir Oswald Birley

Sir Oswald Birley