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state library of queensland
John Oxley Library

The Work of L. J. Harvey and his school

By JOL Admin | 26 July 2011

Lewis Jarvis Harvey (1871–1949) was born at Wantage, in Berkshire, England on 16 June 1871, the second son of the six children born to Enos James Harvey (an iron moulder and engineer) and his wife Elizabeth (nee Jarvis). His family came to Brisbane in 1874 and he attended the Kangaroo Point State School and began his work life as a telegraph messenger.

L. J Harvey was an important practitioner and teacher in the arts and crafts movement in Queensland and a figure of national significance. Harvey was an accomplished artist, carver, ceramist and sculptor, as well as the inspiration of the largest school of Art Pottery in Australia.

He studied art at the Brisbane Technical College, from about 1887 under the direction of Joseph Augustine Clarke. In 1915 he designed a new system for teaching pottery. He experimented with glazes and used local clays to fashion the pots he created and decorated them using Australian motifs.



He had a fondness for Renaissance Classical revival traditions which sometimes resulted in over decorated formal pieces. Harvey excelled as a wood-carver and had wide local impact on furniture design and manufacture. In 1888-90 Harvey won first and special prizes for carved wood panels in competitions restricted to apprentices.

In 1938 Harvey opened an applied art school in Adelaide Street, Brisbane and taught a wide range of people and was associated with the most significant Queensland artists of his day. Daisy Nosworthy and Florence Bland are just two students who began studying pottery with L.J. Harvey at the Central Technical College in the 1920’s. The College exhibited the students work at the 1924 British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, London. Below are samples of the work produced by the students of the Harvey School.



The State Library of Queensland holds material about Australian Art and Pottery, some titles include those about Harvey's work such as: L. J. Harvey and his Times, L. J. Harvey and his School, as well as ephemeral material which includes articles, biographical information and exhibition catalogues. These can be found in the Australian Library of Art collection.

Janette Whitehead

Library Technician - John Oxley Library


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