As an etcher he was strongly influenced by the work of James McNeill Whistler. Born in Ireland, he obtained a commission in the 50th Queen"s Own Regiment just before his eighteenth birthday. He fought in the Crimean War and became adjutand of his regiment before going to Ceylon and then transferring to the 15th Foot then the Coldstream Guards.
He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1887.
Goff lived in London and Brighton but travelled extensively. He then moved during the First World War to Villa Valerie, Bellaria, Louisiana Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland where he died in 1922.
Brighton and Hove Museum and Art Gallery hold a large collection of Goff"s work. In 2011 art historian Alexandra Loske researched this collection in preparation for an exhibition of Goff"s work at the museum"s Prints and Drawings Gallery: Robert Goff: An Etcher in the Wake of Whistler (29 November 2011 to 29 April 2012).
The exhibition comprised approximately
50 works by Goff, mostly etchings and some other works on paper. On display were local views of Brighton, Hove and Sussex, as well as pictures from his travels in other parts of Britain, Italy, Egypt and Japan.