Ursula Hoff: from 1930s Hamburg to art historian in a “kangaroo-infested habitat”

We have written previously about art books donated to the University Library by Professor Jean Michel Massing. One resulting addition is a slight 1935 doctoral thesis from the University of Hamburg on Rembrandt’s influence on 18th century England. The author was Ursula Hoff from London, under the supervision of Erwin Panofsky (one of the most influential art historians of the 20th century) and Fritz Saxl (equally well known as the director of the Warburg Institute and instrumental in moving it from Hamburg to London in 1933). The examiners at her oral examination in May 1935 were the less well known Werner Burmeister and Ludwig Heinrich Heydenreich. In this post I will look in more detail at the people behind these names and the connections between them. It’s a fascinating story with many twists and turns.

Continue reading