Sappho signed 'LAURENCE KOE' (lower right) oil on canvas 103 x 127.5cm (40 9/16 x 50 3/16in). in a modern carved Art-Nouveau style frame
Lawrence E. Koe was a portrait painter and sculptor. He is listed as living in Brighton when he first exhibited at The Royal Academy in 1891, but by 1894 he had moved to London where he appears to have settled for the remainder of his life.
Koe exhibited widely; over twenty times at The Royal Academy, but also at the ROI, The Royal Society of Artists in Birmingham and the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. Most of his exhibited works were portraits, and among his sitters were the wives of fellow artists Harold Speed RP (1872-1957) and Harold Piffard (fl. 1895-1899).
In 1896 Koe exhibited Venus and Tännhauser at the Royal Academy, now in the permanent collection Brighton Museum and Art Gallery and he showed Sappho two years later. He clearly shows the influence of other artists working at the same time, notably Arthur Hacker RA (1858-1919) Herbert James Draper (1864-192) who exhibited The Lament for Icarus (Tate Gallery) in the same year.