The Work of L. J. Harvey and his school

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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A very interesting blog on one of Queenslands and Australias most talented artists. Thankyou very much well done and would love to see more on this man and his works.Keep up the good work.

What an interesting article and the beautiful illustrations really enhanced the information. Thanks.

I have 2 large pottery vases with chinese dragon on them. Could they possibly be from the L J Harvey?rgs. Miriam

The Queensland Art Gallery has a tobacco jar by Florence BLand. She was my grandmothers cousin.

Don't know if the person who wrote this is still there now but thank you anyway for writing this. I enjoyed learning some things about my great grandfather.

Hi there , just recently discovered i have a vase from tbe Harvey School but am having a hard time finding out who the potter may have been. It is incisef on the base with a Q with a Y inside the Q. and the number 22 . Would anyone out there reading this great blog have any idea? Thanks. Very interesting. More detail than ive read elsewhere.

I have a green and cream pot/large vase NOT shiney, with foliage. It belonged to the Grindle Family of Wolston Park and was supposed to belong to Dr Simpson an earlier owner of Wolston Park Homestead. The Grindles were friends of my grandparents family the Murphy's.
Dealers always want to buy it but I cannot make out the signature on the bottom. It belonged to Kathleen Murphy my mother and the family lived at Wacol. An almost matching vase was left to my mother's sisters, all deceased now, and it had identical decorations but in brown tones. How do I proceed to find out its maker?

Hi Jaclyn, If you would like to fill in our online enquiry form with your details, one of our helpful librarians will assist you with your question.

Went to his house many years ago. A lady there, can't remember if it was his wife or sister, showed my sister and myself all the little things he'd make while waiting for his dinner. She gave us a piece each. We also got a desk with the initial D carved into it and a beautifully carved chair with ivy leaves. Sadly, I only have chair now. He was amazing!