Born in London, Hughes migrated to Australia in 1884. After becoming involved in trade unions and Labor electoral leagues, in 1901 he emerged on the federal stage and quickly became an important figure in politics. In 1915 he succeeded Andrew Fisher as Prime Minister, concentrating his policies on issues relating to the First World War. He changed parties several times in line with his beliefs at the time. Hughes resigned as Prime Minister in 1923 but continued to play an active role in Parliament until his death in 1952. This vibrant oil sketch was made by Guthrie in preparation for his great commission ‘Statesmen of the Great War’.