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Focus On... Isaac Rosenberg
* Pre-War Years  
His Early Life
Pre War Years
The Great War
War Poems
Isaac attended a liberal Jewish school in Baker Street in Stepney and, though his frequent ill-health affected his schooling, he showed considerable skill in drawing and writing from an early age. In later life, during the war, he would frequently sketch self-portraits - this is one he sent to a friend from the trenches.

Though Isaac wanted to attend art school, his family could not afford the tuition fees and, in 1904, at the age of just 14, Isaac was apprenticed to an engraver on Fleet Street. While we have been unable to find any official apprenticeship papers relating to Rosenberg, if your ancestor served an apprenticeship it is worth looking into this as a source of information.

Not discouraged, Isaac attended evening art classes at Birbeck College on Fleet Street after work, and his persistence paid off in 1911 when three wealthy Jewish benefactors, Mrs. Delissa Joseph, Mrs Herbert Cohen and Mrs Henrietta Lowy, financed his entry to the Slade School of Art at a cost of £21 a year.


By the time Isaac had finished his studies three years later, his poor health had returned and he went to stay with his older Sister Minnie in South Africa to convalesce in the warm climate.

Sketch (Self Portrait), France, July 1917; from the IWM's Rosenberg collection. Reproduced with the permission of the Rosenberg Family