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Character sketches: drawings by Fred Roe, 1900-27 (volume 1)


129 Portraits in set

The artist Fred Roe (1864-1947) assembled two albums of 'Character sketches' between 1900 and 1945, containing portraits of Roe's friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Many of these are drawn in pencil on menu cards and table plans and other ephemera, giving us a vivid sense of the portraits' context. A number of portraits were signed, not only by Roe, but also by the sitter. As well as portraits sketched at social events, a substantial number of portraits and comic sketches were made during committee meetings for the Artists' General Benevolent Institution and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours. The albums therefore depict the social and professional circles of a London artist in London in the first half of the twentieth century. Roe used the albums as a filing system, allowing him to retrieve sketches and have them reproduced in publications, sometimes alongside the sitter's obituary. He annotated the album pages with the sitter's biographical information, and in one case, even jotted down the sitter's birthday. The albums were extensively annotated by Roe's son, the art historian F. Gordon Roe; they were generously donated to the NPG by his daughter, the artist (Eleanor) Frances Gordon Maynard (née Roe).

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Rupert Stevens, by Fred Roe - NPG D43066

Rupert Stevens

by Fred Roe
pen, circa 1886
NPG D43066

Fred Roe, by Thomas Benjamin Kennington - NPG D43096

Fred Roe

by Thomas Benjamin Kennington
pencil, April 1895
NPG D43096