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Hugo at home (Hugo Weaving)
, 2011

by Nicholas Harding

oil on canvas (frame: 142.5 cm x 203.0 cm, support: 138.0 cm x 199.0 cm)

Hugo Weaving (b. 1960) spent his childhood in England, Australia and South Africa before returning to Australia in 1976. Graduating from NIDA five years later, he made his television debut in the 1984 series Bodyline. After appearing in Bangkok Hilton (1989) he won the AFI best actor award for Proof. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Babe helped him to establish an international reputation in the mid-1990s. Between 1999 and 2003 he starred as Agent Smith in The Matrix and its two blockbuster sequels. He played the elf-king Elrond in the Lord of the Rings trilogy in 2001-2003 before appearing in the radically different films Little Fish (filmed in Sydney) and V for Vendetta (filmed in the UK and Europe) in 2005. Weaving first appeared with the Sydney Theatre Company in 1982, and has since worked on more than twenty of its productions. In 2006 he and Cate Blanchett acted in the company’s Hedda Gabler in New York. He won a Helen Hayes award for Uncle Vanya in Washington DC in 2012; in Sydney that year he played the seducer in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. He starred in the Sydney Theatre Company’s Waiting for Godot in 2013, Macbeth in 2014 and Endgame in 2015; his recent film and television productions include Hacksaw Ridge (2016), Jasper Jones and Seven Types of Ambiguity (2017).

Weaving and Harding have known each other for many years. Harding has emphasised his famous friend’s love of domesticity in this portrait, which includes his tea in a hand-made cup and glimpses of a painting by his wife, a sculpture by his son and his daughter’s ukulele.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased with funds provided by the Liangis family 2012
Accession number: 2012.22