This artist, unknown to us until recently (2013), was found by Debra Meister, who researches and authors visual catalogues of the works known as CORNISH LITANY items, primarily produced by known artists as souvenirs for the village of Polperro in Cornwall. Though not mentioned in the standard art dictionaries, Meister has also found on-line references to oil paintings of harbour scenes, and one specifically known as 'Porth Leven Harbour'. A recent correspondent (2015) has noted the following: 'On 22nd July 1974, I purchased a pastel scene of Port Leven Harbour from the Cornwall Society of Artists in Polperro.'
2016: A correspondent has provided a cache of information about Victor Martin Harvey, and a visual image of one of his drawings, which we only knew by initials previously. She draws our attention to the biography of Harvey which is posted by the Goldmark Gallery (on-line as listed below). Born and brought up in Leytonstone, east London, his apprenticeship to Curtis Brothers Advertising meant that he could attend St Martin's School of Art part-time for several years. In addition to making medical drawings for an East End hospital surgeon, he joined G S Royde's Advertising Agency as a commercial artist.
By 1942, Harvey was posted to Cornwall in the war-time fire service working in Bodmin. Deciding to remain in Cornwall after the war, be took up teaching duties at Wadebridge Community College, while continuing with his own work as a commercial artist and signwriter. His son, the artist Martin HARVEY, grew up in St Mabyn, where the family lived.
By the 1960s Harvey was living on the proceeds of his art work, and became a founder-member of the Camel Art Society, Wadebridge. Wadebridge Town Council hold examples of his work. In 1962 he painted a mural, depicting the construction of the bridge at Wadebridge, for the Bristol & West Building Society. After the closure of the Building Society, the mural was given to the Town Hall, where it remains in situ.
A retrospective was mounted by the Camel Art Society in 1981, which travelled in part to St Ives, the RWA and the East Cornwall Societies of Artists.
Oil paintings of marine subjects, commericial commissions in advertising, medical drawings, sign-writing, watercolour and pastel
works and access
Wadebridge town Council
1981 Retrospective, Camel Art Society
Camel Art Society, Founder member
misc further info
With thanks to Martin Harvey, Jenny Bray and the Goldmark Gallery for information provided.
On-line auction catalogues
Postcard drawing in the Cornish Litany series (in file)
Goldmark Gallery (online directory)
Tovey, David (2021) Polperro - Cornwall's Forgotten Art Centre - Volume Two - Post-1920, Wilson Books