Born in Penzance, Harold Harvey was one of the few of the Newlyn School of painters who was actually local to the area. The oldest of a family of eight, his chosen career was frowned upon by his wealthy middle class family, particularly his father, Francis, who was general manager of Carne and Carne’s Banking Co. in Penzance.
Harold Harvey did not seek to raise Cornwall or its people to heroic proportions, as did some of the earlier Newlyn painters, and his numerous paintings form a fascinating record of the changing face of Newlyn in the early twentieth century. He describes the harmony of village life, the unspoilt countryside and its inhabitants from the viewpoint of one who had grown up there and knew it intimately. His personal philosophy was in keeping with the sympathetic social studies by Stanhope Forbes and particularly Norman Garstin, under whom he initially trained.
Harold Harvey went on subsequently to study in Paris in the years 1894-1896 at the Académie Julian as well as the Atelier Colarossi and the Atelier Auguste-Joseph Délécluse. Returning to Newlyn he began to exhibit with some frequency and recognition, and in 1898 he had his first piece accepted by the Royal Academy.
Although he was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy from 1889-1941, Harold Harvey was never elected a member, nor was he a member of the New English Art Club.
Harold Harvey held several one-man exhibitions in London, at the Mendoza Galleries, Barbizon House and the Leicester Galleries, and he exhibited regularly at the Newlyn Art Gallery.
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