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Rayner Hoff

1894 – 1937

George Rayner Hoff (1894-1937), sculptor, was born in England and trained at the Royal College of Art, London. He took up the post of Instructor in Drawing and Sculpture at East Sydney Technical College in 1924, and exhibited 23 pieces of sculpture in the Society of Artists exhibition that year. Two years later, he designed the Holden lion. With a gifted group of mainly female students and assistants, notably Eileen McGrath and Barbara Tribe, he undertook high-profile commissions in Sydney between the wars. From 1930 to 1933 the group worked on the sculpture for Bruce Dellit's Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney. In 1934 Hoff produced his Gorgon-like bust of Mary Gilmore; in 1937 he designed the memorial to King George V that stands opposite Old Parliament House in Parkes Place, but he died before it was made. The National Portrait Gallery owns the last portrait head he sculpted, that of composer Alfred Hill in 1936. Hoff was a foundation member of the Australian Academy of Art and a member of the executive of the Society of Artists. He is represented in the collections of the Australian National Gallery, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Gallery of Victoria and Sydney University. The Art Gallery of New South Wales mounted This Vital Flesh: The Sculpture of Rayner Hoff and his school in 1999-2000.

Updated 2018