The ANZAC Memorials of Rayner Hoff

Saturday, 4 August 2018  |  Gareth

This year is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One and we commemorate the final centenary with an issue of war memorials made by a Manx-born Australian sculptor, Rayner Hoff (1894-1937).

Sculptor Rayner Hoff spent the first eight years of his life on the Isle of Man before moving to England and serving in the British Army during the Great War. After migrating to Sydney in 1923, he became an acclaimed artist and teacher. His war memorial sculptures in Australia have come to represent the spirit of ANZAC in his adopted country.

Although the Hoff name is of Dutch origin, the first Hoff family members to move to the Isle of Man came from Lincolnshire in England. Joseph and George Hoff arrived in the 1880s to work on the new steam railway system, and by 1891, both brothers had married women from long-established Manx families. George's wife, Elizabeth Amy Coole, had grown up in
Cronkbourne Village, Tromode. After their marriage, George and Elizabeth Hoff lived in St Helena Cottage near Woolf's Brewery and Mineral Water Works, in Spring Valley, Braddan, where George was employed as a bricklayer.

Their second child, George Rayner Hoff, was born on 27th November 1894. He was named after his father, but was known by his middle name. As a child, Rayner was fascinated by the folklore on the Island - he and his brothers and sisters grew up hearing stories of fairies, goblins and giants. These tales stayed with him and were referenced in his many later depictions of mythological subjects.

Our stamps have been designed by Australian designer Louise Cornwall in association with author Deborah Beck who recently collaborated on the monograph Rayner Hoff - The Life of A Sculptor published last year.  Each stamp includes a detail from the Sydney or Adelaide memorial and an image of a Manx-born or Isle of Man-descended soldier.

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