A STEEL-company boss will be picture perfect as part of a British art exhibition celebrating family-run firms.

Mark Sugden, managing director of John W Laycock Ltd, based in Bradford Road, Riddlesden, has had his portrait painted by artist Helen Perkins as part of the Face Forward exhibition.

The scheme is a collaboration between businesses and financial advisor Armstrong Watson, which has selected ten faces of family business to put on canvas.

Mr Sugden, who has already completed two sittings for his portrait, was invited to take part in the project by Armstrong Watson, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

He said: “Sitting for your portrait really gives time for reflection and can change your perspective.

“Taking a different view on life is very positive, bringing new energy into the business.

“We’ve worked with Armstrong Watson for at least two generations, going back to the 1930s.

“Not only have they consistently provided us with sound advice, but they also take an innovative approach to supporting family business – whether this is by offering leadership courses to unlock potential, or with something like this portrait project which I believe will be very powerful and will give an insight into what makes some of Britain’s oldest businesses so special.”

Once all the paintings are complete, the portrait exhibition will tour the north of England as part of Armstrong Watson’s anniversary celebrations.

Dave Clarkson, Armstrong Watson business development director and strategic business advisor, said: “We hope that the portraits – whether of a grandparent, parent or a young family member – will provide a unique way of giving a flavour of the past, present and future of family business.”

Ms Perkins said: “My aim is capture on canvas the unique characteristics of the business leaders, which underpin their drive to make their businesses succeed.

“Successful business people tend to have faith in their decisions and allow themselves to make mistakes – I hope that these qualities come through in my paintings.”

John W Laycock, which employs 14 people, can trace its roots back to nail making in 1746.

While the company continues to sell nails, it has expanded to supply a wide range of steel products such as girders and sheet steel, grinding wheels and other engineering lines.

The business passed to the Sugden family early in the 20th century, when the Laycock line came to an end and the current managing director’s grandfather took over.