Dora de Pedery-Hunt

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Dora de Pédery
Photo of Dora de Pedery-Hunt.jpg
Born(1913-11-16)November 16, 1913
Budapest, Hungary
DiedSeptember 29, 2008(2008-09-29) (aged 94)
Toronto, Ontario
EducationHungarian University of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary, until 1943
Known forsculptor, medalist, designer of coins; teacher
SpouseVela Hunt
AwardsMember in 1966, Royal Canadian Academy; Canada Council grant (1958); Centennial Medal (1967); Honorary LL.D., York University (1983)

Dora de Pédery-Hunt, OC OOnt RCA LL.D. (16 November 1913 – 29 September 2008) was a Hungarian-Canadian sculptor who designed medals and coins. She was the first Canadian citizen to design an effigy for Queen Elizabeth II.[1]


Dora de Pédery was born in Budapest, Hungary on 16 November 1913 to Attila and Emilia de Pédery.[2] Her father, Attila, was a scientist and a talented pianist, and her mother regularly sang and told stories to Dora and her two sisters. The family focused on music, schooling, and reading, and the children were encouraged to cultivate their ambitions and talents. Dora initially studied physics, medicine and architecture before choosing art as her intended vocation at the age of 24.[2] She trained for six years with scholarships at what is now the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Budapest, studying under Elek Lux, Béla Ohmann, and József Reményi.[2] She received her Masters Diploma in Sculpture in 1943.[3]

After German forces occupied Hungary in March 1944, her family decided to flee west to Helmstedt, Germany,[2] fearing the Soviet advance from the east. Eight months later, they arrived in Hannover, where her father found work,[2] but it was not long before its fall to the Allied forces.[4]

Five years later, through the sponsorship of Major Thomas S. Chutter and his family, she immigrated to Canada.[5] She arrived in Toronto and worked as a family's live-in housekeeper for a year. She then became a high school art teacher, a job for which she often walked eight kilometres. She also did odd jobs such as "painting designs on children's furniture, cleaning artists' studios and making Christmas decorations for friends and gift shops."[2]

In 1949, she married Vela Hunt. He was a Hungarian journalist and they knew each other previously in Hannover. They divorced in 1961.[2]

She died from colorectal cancer in Toronto, Ontario on 29 September 2008.[4]


Maybe, after all, these limitations are necessary. I welcome these odds - my medals are the result of a good fight against them - and at the end at least I can look back on a bravely fought battle.

— Dora de Pédery-Hunt[4]

After getting married, de Pédery-Hunt spent the next seven years using her free time to work on her sculpting on her kitchen table. In 1956 she made a large artificial stone portrait of Frances Loring, her friend and a fellow sculptor. She entered the portrait in the CNE art show, where it was seen by Alan Jarvis, who was serving as director of the National Gallery of Canada. Jarvis, who was also a trained professional sculptor, saw the merit of de Pédery-Hunt's piece and played a major role in its purchase for a permanent collection at NGC. Their purchase was her first Canadian sale of sculpture.[2]

Her art turned toward a special interest in making medallions since she often did small-scale sculpting. With Jarvis's encouragement, she applied for Canada Council assistance. She thereafter received a grant in 1958 to study medals displayed in various European galleries, museums, and cathedrals.[2] She decided to focus on the neglected art of medal-making upon her return to Toronto, and her first commission was to make a Canada Council medal for excellence in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. She created a cast bronze medallion that was ten centimetres in diameter in 1961; on it, she was able to portray music, dance, literature, painting, and sculpture.[2]

In 1963, she was elected to the Ontario Society of Artists.[3] She was a founding member of the Canadian Portrait Academy and the Medallic Art Society of Canada.[6] On numerous occasions, she represented Canada as a Delegate to the International Art Medal Federation FIDEM, with which she was affiliated since 1965.[7] She had various other affiliations: She was elected to the Sculptors Society of Canada in 1953.[6] She was a member of Royal Canadian Academy of Arts since 1967.[8] She was also a member of the Hungarian Society of Applied Art and the Hungarian Women's Fine Art Association.[2]

Her career as an artist also included teaching; she taught sculpture at Toronto's Northern Vocational School from 1949 to 1960, at the Women's Art Association in 1956, and at the Ontario College of Art in 1957.[9]

She created the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II that was used on Canadian coinage in 1990.[10]

Her medal design of Sir Donald Alexander Smith was used by Canada Post as a six cent postage stamp.[11] Two of her portraits of Dr. Frances Loring are in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.[9]

Over the span of her career, she designed over 600 medals. Additionally, she created a series of small bronze sculptures commemorating Canadian heroes and heroines, and many other works which can be viewed in collections in over 70 major museums worldwide.[2]

Royal Canadian Mint coins[edit]

Besides the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, various Royal Canadian Mint gold coins with a face value of one hundred dollars were designed.

Year Theme Finish Mintage Issue Price
1976 Olympic Commemorative Proof 650,000[12] $105.00
1976 Olympic Commemorative (22k) Proof 350,000 $150.00
1986 International Year of Peace Proof 76,255[13] $325.00

Notable medallions[edit]


de Pédery-Hunt's awards include:


  1. ^ Cross, W.K. (2006). Canadian Coins, A Charlton Standard Catalogue (60th ed.). Toronto, Ontario: The Charlton Press. p. 75. ISBN 0-88968-297-6.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Macdonald, Colin S. (1997). A Dictionary of Canadian Artists. Vol. 1: A to F Revised and Expanded (5th ed.). Ottawa: Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd. p. 609a–611a. ISBN 0-919554-21-0.
  3. ^ a b "Dora de Pedery-Hunt". Archived from the original on October 13, 2008. Retrieved October 29, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Martin, Sandra (October 4, 2008). "Sculptor who loved making medals put the Queen on Canada's coinage". Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on September 3, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c Canadian Coin News, November 11, 2008, p.10, Trajan Publishing
  7. ^ Del Newbigging, Dora Pédery-Hunt. "IN MEMORIAM 2008" (PDF). International Art Medal Federation Fédération Internationale de la Médaille d'Art. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Archived from the original on May 26, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
  9. ^ a b, Ian Hoar -. "Sculptors Society of Canada - Member Details".
  10. ^ A Charlton Standard Catalogue, Canadian Coins, 60th Edition, 2006, p.75, Edited by W.K. Cross, The Charlton Press, Toronto, Ontario, ISBN 0-88968-297-6
  11. ^ "Canadian Postal Archives Database".
  12. ^ A Charlton Standard Catalogue, Canadian Coins, 60th Edition, 2006, p.372, Edited by W.K. Cross, The Charlton Press, Toronto, Ontario, ISBN 0-88968-297-6
  13. ^ A Charlton Standard Catalogue, Canadian Coins, 60th Edition, 2006, p.375, Edited by W.K. Cross, The Charlton Press, Toronto, Ontario, ISBN 0-88968-297-6
  14. ^ The Charlton Standard Catalogue of the Canadian Numismatic Association’s Medals and Awards, p.54, R. Brian Cornwell, The Charlton Press, Toronto, Ontario, ISBN 0-88968-100-7
  15. ^ " DORA DE PÉDERY-HUNT". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on February 13, 2009.
  16. ^ "Mrs. Dora de Pedery-Hunt". Governor General of Canada. Retrieved May 29, 2022.

External links[edit]