The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Search the Collection

Edgar Riley Wilkinson

(1898-1977), Civil engineer

Sitter in 1 portrait

Tell us More

 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close

List Thumbnail


Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this person? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license an image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

Cynthia McDowall MBE

08 March 2019, 11:59

I am Edgar Wilkinson's elder daughter.

Any contribution from me would be largely about his home and family life, events and circumstances.

For his professional career, successes and notability you cannot do better than to look up an old edition of Who's Who. The last edition in which he was included was 1972. He died in 1978 at the age of 80.

Some items I do remember: he left school at 15 to go to work to help pay the horrendous doctors bills for his very ill mother. He got a job at the local engineering works near his home in Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston and took evening classes. Later he went to work at an engineering firm in Rugby. He was with Mertz and McLellan, consultant engineers, until 1928 when he was poached to join the Central Electricity Board as their Commercial Manager which position he occupied until 1948. He was Commercial Manager of the British Electricity Authority until 1955 and then he became Deputy Chairman of Balfour Beatty until 1967. By this time he had become a world expert on power generation. I remember he went to Paris to attend the Foreign Ministers' Conference as specialist adviser to Ernest Bevin around 1947. Similarly, many years later, he went as specialist adviser to the World Bank regarding the advisability of lending money to developing countries towards developing their own power plants.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.

Visit From Your Armchair

Self-portrait as My Father from the series Encounter  by Silvia Rosi © Silvia Rosi

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.

Visit now

Hold Still

Hold Still

Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.

Explore the exhibition

Margaret Thatcher by Spitting Images Productions Ltd painted plastic, 1985

Sculptures in 360°

See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.

View the 360s

David Hockney: Drawing from Life

Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.

See the video