The historical genre painter Fred Roe was the son of a miniature painter, and was born in Cambridgeshire. After the early death of his father, he came to London where he studied at Heatherley's art school. During this period he did some black and white illustration, and afterwards entered the studio of the well-known genre painter Seymour Lucas. Roe soon developed a successful career as a painter of historical genre subjects, especially out of doors, and often connected with the Tower of London. He painted several pictures of Joan of Arc, and also some showing incidents in the life of Nelson. He also worked as a portrait painter of no great merit. However, most of his pictures were slightly whimsical situation pieces, somewhat in the spirit of paintings by Dendy Sadler, if in a less detailed style. Roe also wrote two popular books on oak furniture, and many of his pictures contain various accoutrements of carved oak.
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