- Presented by the Canterbury Society of Arts, 1932
- Oil on canvas
- 1275 x 1780mm
Traditionally, May Day celebrations were about the renewal of life and the beginning of spring. A maypole was erected in the village square and, to the music of pipes, the prettiest girl was led dancing through the village towards her coronation as ‘Queen of the May’. Academic in style, Frederic Roe has captured such a scene with careful paint applications. The brighter, lighter colours of the costumes of the male dancer and the Queen of the May are framed by darker shadowed areas, keeping the main focus on the central characters. Born in Cambridgeshire, Roe was the son of a painter of miniatures. He studied art in London and began exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1887. He soon developed a successful career as a painter of historical outdoor genre subjects. Roe also painted portraits in oils and watercolour, but his reputation was based on genre pieces. He also had a passion for old oak furniture and wrote and illustrated two popular books on the subject.