Frederick Roe, 1864 - 1947
"Bound for Trafalgar's Bay, Nelson leaving Portsmouth for the Victory, 1805"
"Bound for Trafalgar's Bay, Nelson in Portsmouth
7th May 1885

signed and dated "1885"

oil on canvas
55.88 x 83.82 cm. (22 x 33 in.)


"Having despatched his business on shore, he endeavours to elude the populace by taking a bye-way to the beach; but a crowd collected in his train, pressing forward to obtain sight of his face... The sentinels, who endeavour to prevent them from trespassing, were wedged among the crowd...for the people would not be debarred from gazing upon the darling hero of England" Southey. Rather more than a month later he won the Battle of Trafalgar against England’s enemies but died in the very hour of victory’


reproduced as a Chromolithograph


On September 14 1805 an enormous crowd had gathered to witness Nelsons embarkation, but he strove to elude its attentions by taking his boat at the bathing machines on Southsea beach, instead of at the usual landing place. The crowd was not easily to be avoided. Men poured about him as about a saint, eager to look upon his resolute face, sobbing and falling down before him in prayer. Never had mortal man so true and tender a welcome. 


"I had their huzzas before, I have their hearts now, " he said to Captain Hardy as he stepped from English soil.

Artist biography

Roe was born in Cambridge, England, the son of Robert Henry Roe, painter and engraver; He went on to study at Heatherley School of Fine Art under Seymour Lucas. Roe first exhibited at the prestigious Royal Academy in 1877, was elected to the RBA in 1895, then to the Royal Institute of British Painters in 1909. He spent many years living in London being recorded in the 1901 census as living in Hampstead with his wife and son (Frederic Gordon Roe who became an art critic). Roe developed a successful career as a painter of historical genre subjects, 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 was an accomplished portrait painter and his work can be found in many public collections including the National Portrait Gallery in London. During his career, Roe was best known for his large historical compositions set in period costumes. He is known to have worked in oils and occasionally watercolour. He later became a leading expert and collector of antique furniture and was the author of several reference books: A History of Oak Furniture (1920) & Ancient Church Chests and Chairs (1929). He also illustrated Vanishing England by P. H. Ditchfield.