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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Billy Hughes paperweight

n.d.
an unknown artist

cast iron, painted (15.0 cm x 6.5 cm depth 7.0 cm)

William Morris Hughes and George Reid were both popular targets for caricaturists - Hughes for the combination of his small frame, wizened face, large ears and pugnacious personality; and Reid for what colleague Alfred Deakin called ‘an immense, unwieldy jelly-like stomach' and ‘little legs apparently bowed beneath its weight’. The circumstances under which the Hughes souvenir was made are unknown, but examples exist in various public collections. Some visitors have recalled ‘paperweights’ such as the Hughes and Reid objects being used by street newspaper vendors to secure their wares in a breeze.

William Morris Hughes CH KC was Australia’s seventh prime minister, from 1915 to 1923. For the first two years he was Labor prime minister; he continued in the job as leader of the new Nationalist party. Hughes holds the record for the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, weathering a tumultuous 51 years and 7 months in the chamber.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Ric Techow and Jenny Techow-Coleman in memory of Roy and Bet Techow 2001

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

William Morris Hughes

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Donated by

Jenny Techow-Coleman (1 portrait)

Howard Coleman (1 portrait)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Billy Hughes paperweight
Billy Hughes paperweight
Billy Hughes paperweight
Billy Hughes paperweight

Mugshots

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

A toast to the acquisition of an unconventional new portrait of former Prime Minister, Stanley Melbourne Bruce.

Bob Hawke
Bob Hawke
Bob Hawke
Bob Hawke

Primed

Some Prime Ministers

Previous exhibition, 2019

Seventeen of Australia’s thirty prime ministers to date are represented in the contrasting sizes, moods and mediums of these portraits.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency