The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Search the Collection

Benjamin Zephaniah

(1958-), Writer, dub poet and musician

Sitter in 3 portraits
Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah grew up in Jamaica and in Handsworth, England. Sent to an approved school for uncontrollable behaviour, he ended up in jail for burglary. After prison, he turned from crime to music and poetry. As a reggae DJ in Handsworth, he carved a niche for himself standing apart from his contemporaries with their chants about Jamaican life by choosing to use Britain as his main point of reference as well as the influence of Jamaican music and poetry as a part of his identity. At the age of 22 he travelled to London and published his first book Pen Rhythm. Other poetry publications followed including Too Black, Too Strong; children's books include We Are Britain.

Tell us More

 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close

List Thumbnail

Benjamin Zephaniah, by Miriam Reik - NPG x30307

Benjamin Zephaniah

by Miriam Reik
bromide fibre print, 1980s
NPG x30307

Benjamin Zephaniah, by Pogus Caesar - NPG x200723

Benjamin Zephaniah

by Pogus Caesar
digital gelatin silver print, 1986
NPG x200723

Benjamin Zephaniah, by Donald MacLellan - NPG x88746

Benjamin Zephaniah

by Donald MacLellan
toned bromide print, 29 August 1996
NPG x88746

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this person? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license an image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.


Make a donation

Support our Make History appeal and help us transform the Gallery.

Help us make history

Online shop

A unique range of books, accessories and gifts. Every purchase supports the Gallery’s work.

Shop now

Bring a familiar face home

Refresh your home gallery with a huge selection of custom art prints .

Buy a print