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Rose Henriques, Artist

June 17, 2017
by the gentle author

In the fifth of my series of profiles of artists featured in EAST END VERNACULAR, Artists who painted London’s East End streets in the 20th century to be published by Spitalfields Life Books in October, I present the paintings of Rose Henriques. Click here to learn how you can support the publication of EAST END VERNACULAR

Portrait of Rose Henriques (1889- 1972) © Ian Berry

Born into an Orthodox Jewish family in Stoke Newington, Rose devoted herself to life of altruistic endeavour, serving as a nurse at Liverpool St Station in the First World War and then as an ambulance driver based in Cannon St Rd in the Second World War.

In 1917, she married Basil Henriques and together they established and ran the settlement in Berners St (later known as Henriques St) pursuing philanthropic work among the  Jewish community in the East End for more than half a century.

Yet somehow Rose also managed to produce a stream of paintings that document the times she lived in intimate human detail, exhibiting her work at the Whitechapel Gallery from 1934 onwards and holding two solo shows there,’Stepney in War & Peace’ in 1947 and ‘Vanishing Stepney’ in 1961.

Coronation Celebrations in Challis Court, 1937

Nine O’Clock News, The Outbreak of War

The New Driver, Ambulance Station, Cannon St Rd

Next Day, Watney St Market, 1941

Bombed Second Time, The Foothills, Tilbury & Southend Railway Warehouses, 1941

Dual Purpose, School Yard in Fairclough St, Tilbury & Southend Railway Warehouses, forties

Line outside Civil Defence Shelter, Turner St, 1942

Stepney Green Synagogue, forties

The Brick Dump, Exmouth St, forties

Club Row Animal Market Carries On, 1943

Fait Accompli, Berner St, 1951

Workrooms for the Elderly, 1954

Archive images courtesy Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives

8 Responses leave one →
  1. Jim McDermott permalink
    June 17, 2017

    ‘Nine O’clock News’ captures a profound moment powerfully.

  2. June 17, 2017

    I always loved her paintings, and she was a fantastic person, always concerned for the welfare of others. Valerie

  3. June 17, 2017

    Rose portrayed life for us all to see, her work lives on, she is in the heavens now. Her art takes us into a wartime London dramatic & historic pics. Rose served her country in two world war on the civilian front line we all must be proud of her. Her paintings deserve to be in the forthcoming big art book. Shalom sweet art lady. Poet John

  4. Helen Breen permalink
    June 17, 2017

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, another great collection worthy of memorialization. Rose’s people are so real. Particularly impressed with “Nine O’Clock News, The Outbreak of War” and “The New Driver, Ambulance Station, Cannon St Rd.”

    Continued success in preserving these treasures …

  5. June 17, 2017

    “Nine O’clock News” says it all. The collective family grouping, with the innocent family
    pet seeming to review all the faces and body language……..the anxiety of what is ahead, the everyday cares and worries of the group suddenly thrust into a huge unknowable calamity.
    This image portrays the fragility of everything, and the stalwart endurance — all in one
    I am greatly impressed with this amazing artist.
    A stunning series – and I can’t wait to spend time with this new book.

  6. June 18, 2017

    Extraordinary paintings. The humanity of the artist shines through.

  7. June 18, 2017

    Wonderful atmospheric paintings, indeed!

    Love & Peace

  8. Michelle Gabriel permalink
    March 12, 2020

    Hello Gentle Author. Thank you so much for documenting the East End so lovingly. I am lucky enough to have a copy of East End Vernacular, and I revel in the stories of the artists and the way so many of them have captured the light and atmosphere of the East End.

    In the Rose Henriques chapter, you give the old name of Henriques Street as Berners Street. It was actually Berner Street, and I’m mentioning it in case you do a reprint of this wonderful book.

    Berner/Henriques Street means the world to me, because my first home was there, in Basil House, which I have always understood to be social housing provided by the Oxford and St George’s settlement. It’s only in the past few years that I have found out that Berner Street was the site where a woman was murdered by the notorious Ripper.

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