Gerard Hoffnung

Working directly with Gerard Hoffnung’s (1925-1959) estate, we are delighted to produce this wonderful collection of music-inspired illustration prints. 

Gerard Hoffnung was an artist, tuba player, humorist, broadcaster and raconteur. When he died suddenly, in 1959, he had accomplished in his brief 34 years, achievements to fill a whole series of lifetimes. 

Born in Berlin in 1925, Hoffnung escaped to Britain from Nazi Germany with his mother, finally settling in London.  His first published drawings appeared when he was only 15 and by the age of 22 his contributions appeared regularly in many periodicals.  With superb artistry and gentle wit he produced hundreds of cartoons, mostly on a musical theme.  His first Little Music Book, 'The Maestro', was published in 1953 and five others followed in quick succession.  In 1956, at the Royal Festival Hall, the first Hoffnung Concert burst upon London's musical scene receiving international acclaim.

As a raconteur, as well as regularly speaking at the Oxford and Cambridge Unions, he became a much-loved broadcaster, his gentle humour endearing him to millions.

Hoffnung, greatly loved by his family and friends, was compassionate and socially enlightened, becoming a Quaker in the early 1950s and a devoted prison visitor at Pentonville.

In his obituary in The Times concluded: “It is usual to say that a man has left behind a gap that cannot be filled. For Gerard Hoffnung there would be needed a handful of men, all of them greatly gifted”.

Gerard Hoffnung

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A life in music: Gerard Hoffnung

Incredibly imaginative, the titles of Hoffnung’s playful works alone – ‘Cat with Musical Whiskers’, ‘Cymbal Player with Bandaged Nose’, ‘Tubular Bell Accident’, amongst others – all bring extraordinary scenes to life.

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