Self Portrait in Army Steel Helmet by Isaac Rosenberg

Rosenberg is considered amongst the best of British First World War poets and lesser known as an Anglo-Jewish artist from the Whitechapel area.


Black chalk,white and yellow gouache on brown wrapping paper
24.1 x 19.1 cm
Art Fund grant:
£5,000 ( Total: £9,000)
Acquired in:
Private collection

This is an important work both in the context of Rosenberg’s artistic oeuvre and in view of its biographical context. Encased in steel helmet and tightly buttoned military uniform, Rosenberg’s haggard face stares out at the viewer: a mere ‘outer semblance of himself’. Once he left for the Front, Rosenberg found little opportunity for painting or drawing, and this work, executed in situ in the horrific atmosphere of Somme trench warfare, has a particular poignancy. Although the Ben Uri Gallery has strong links to the local Whitechapel artists, this is the first work directly derived from the experience of the trenches to enter the collection.


Patric Dickinson; private collection, 2007; private collection, 2008.

Venue details

Ben Uri: Art. Identity. Migration 108A Boundary Road, Off Abbey Road, London London NW8 0RH 020 7604 3991

Entry details

Free to all

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