Isaac Rosenberg (1890-1918) Proposal to erect a commemorative statue in Torrington Square, London WC1
Isaac Rosenberg, one of the greatest of the First World War poets and a talented artist, has not received the widespread recognition he deserves.
The son of Jewish Lithuanian immigrants, he grew up in deprived circumstances in London’s East End and was obliged to leave school at 14 to work. Thanks to Birkbeck College, however, where the fees were modest and the standards high, he was able to continue his studies at night. During his years at Birkbeck’s art department (1907-1911), he received a sound training, won several prizes and produced his earliest-known self-portrait, now at Tate Britain. This same rigorous training enabled him to win a place at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London, which he attended from 1911 to 1914. He was staying with his sister, Minnie, in Cape Town when war broke out
That put an end to Rosenberg’s hopes of earning a living through painting or writing. In 1915 he enlisted in the British army. He was killed near Arras on April 1, 1918, in the great German offensive. His remains are unidentified to this day and his only real memorial is a gravestone in France recording his name and his profession, ‘Artist and Poet’.
It is proposed that the statue will be in Torrington Square on the Birkbeck College campus. The proximity to the two great learning centres in Rosenberg’s life, Birkbeck and the Slade, make this an even more fitting memorial to his genius.The statue will be only the fifth statue of a poet in London and only the second in Britain of a Jewish literary figure (the other being Benjamin Disraeli).
The sculptor chosen for the project is Etienne Millner, a fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors and President of the Society of Portrait Sculptors. A figurative sculptor who has lived and worked from his studio in south London for over 20 years, he studied at Goldsmiths College and the Royal Academy Schools. His work is made in clay or plaster and cast into bronze
Etienne’s commissions are wide-ranging and have included monumental portraiture, figure groups and busts of politicians, writers and musicians. His subjects include Sir Lennox Berkeley, Lord and Lady Harris of Peckham, Lord Allenby, Arsène Wenger, Toyah Wilcox and Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck. Examples of Etienne’s work can be viewed at www.etiennemillner.com.
Please send all enquires to project leader Clive Bettington
Sir Antony Sher, KBE
Help wind up the clock: £92,000 required Payments to: Jeecs-Rosenberg Statue appeal c/o Clive Bettington, P.O. Box 57317, London E1 3WG further enquiries to Clive Bettington: 07941 367 882 email Clive