The Viscount Wakefield. President of the Royal Hospitals of Bridewell and Bethlem: Elected 1912.

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The Viscount Wakefield. President of the Royal Hospitals of Bridewell and Bethlem: Elected 1912.
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Henry Macbeth Raeburn after Sir Oswald Birley
The Viscount Wakefield. President of the Royal Hospitals of Bridewell and Bethlem: Elected 1912.
(London, c. 1935)
Mezzotint, printed on india paper
450x350mm
£180
An interesting, seated, three quarter length portrait of the founder of Castrol Oils and philanthropist Charles Cheers Wakefield (1859-1941), created Viscount Wakefield in 1934. He sits back in a padded armchair, carved at its head with the Arms of the City of London and one of the Livery Companies, wearing his Alderman’s fur and velvet trimmed robes. After schooling at Liverpool Institute he became the employee of an oil-broker, and made several journeys round the world. Moving to London in 1891, he founded in 1899 his own firm, C. C. Wakefield & Co., dealing in lubricating oils and appliances. The petrol-driven motor was still in the experimental stage, and the firm of Wakefield made its early reputation in locomotive lubricants. This reputation was to endure, but Wakefield had the foresight to plan for a rapid expansion of the motor industry. He stuck to his speciality, making no excursions into the wider field of propulsive oils; and he invariably ploughed back a large proportion of his profits into the company. These factors, combined with a faculty for choosing the right technical experts and an appreciation of the value of advertising, rapidly brought him great wealth. The trade name, ‘Castrol’, which he adopted for his products, arose from the fact that the early motor lubricants contained a considerable proportion of castor oil. Moving to the City of London, Wakefield became a zealous worker for the City and a warm enthusiast for its dignities and traditions, eventually being elected Lord Mayor during the crucial War years 1915-16. Among Wakefield's other charitable interests, one cause which moved him very deeply was the work of the Bethlem Royal Hospital. He was president, and a generous benefactor, of both this and the Bridewell Hospital and of the Mental Aftercare Association. Wakefield died at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire on 15th January 1941. The peerage became extinct. The painting is in the Bethlehem Royal Hospital, Beckenham, Kent.