With thanks to Sally Enzer for use of her research material from 'Gilbert Rogers - A Life'.
Gilbert Rogers was born on 9th November 1881 in Freshfield, Lancashire, then a small
village some fourteen miles north of Liverpool. His father, William Rogers, was a watch
and clockmaker, whose family had migrated to Liverpool from North Wales in the 1840s.
Gilbert’s schooling began at the Liverpool Institute, a short distant from the family
home at 14 Falkner Street. Displaying early artistic talent he went on to study art at the
Liverpool City School of Art where he later became a tutor as well as working as a
professional portrait painter. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1909, 1910, 1912
He enlisted into the ranks of the Royal Army Medical Corps on 9th November 1915 (Army
No. 78529) for Home Service and was sent to Eastbourne for his military and medical
training. He eventually became an instructor at the RAMC officer training school at
In 1918 he was called upon to manage a small group of RAMC soldier-artists who had
been commissioned by the Committee for the Medical History of the War to record the
war work of the military and civilian medical services (including the British Red Cross
Society & Order of St John of Jerusalem & the Voluntary Aid Detachment) both at home
and abroad. Rogers travelled to the Western Front in July 1918. The artists worked from
the Avenue Studios, located off Fulham Road in London, and were provided with art
materials, props and staff to assist them. In total they produced some six hundred pieces
of work which included paintings, models and bronzes. He was commissioned as a
Temporary Lieutenant for this role and received the Military MBE in the Peace Gazette of
June 1919. These artworks formed the Medical Section of the Great War Exhibition
which opened on the 9th June 1920 at the newly-established Imperial War Museum at
Crystal Palace, Sydenham Hill. The art works were later distributed to various military
establishments and can now be found at both the Imperial War Museum and the
Wellcome Collection in London.
After demobilisation in April 1920 Gilbert Rogers returned to Liverpool and became a
director of his younger brother’s furniture manufacturing and upholstery company, Guy
Rogers, Ltd. It was a popular local employer and the brothers were a respected and
In 1922 Rogers became President of the Artists’ Club, a long-established gentlemen’s
business and social club, and maintained close links with the Liverpool artists community,
although there is no evidence that he continued his work as a portrait painter.
In 1924 he married Gertrude Jane Iceton in 1924, the former wife of his friend and art
school tutor, Arthur Baxter. The couple moved out of Liverpool and set up home on the
Wirral Peninsula, where Gilbert Rogers died on 20th May 1956 at their home in Oxton.
A number of Gilbert Rogers’ war-time oil paintings have been included in exhibitions
across the country to commemorate the centenary of the Great War, which has brought
renewed interest in this previously largely uncelebrated.
Sally Enzer <email@example.com>