John Dean Monroe Harvey (1895 – 1978)
Architectural Drawing: Design for a factory for VC Bond
for Barnes Challen & Cross, Architects and Engineers
Even the factory commissioned by the manufacturers of a furniture company deserved the attention of a drawing by the famous JDM Harvey in the Board Room. Unusually, perhaps, for Harvey, here he is drawing fields, carefully catching the texture of a ploughed field with the confident diagonal strokes of his hand. The factory is busily occupied, men are unstacking great piles of timber at the back of the building. A further lorry-load of raw materials enters through the gate and the Directors’ fine saloon cars are parked towards the front. Even in this obviously rural environment Harvey draws his usual pedestrians. All these aspects give life to what in the hands of a lesser man would probably be a rather clinical drawing – instead of a picture of which to be proud.
Probably unrivalled as an architectural perspectivist working after the second World War, Harvey trained as an architect but after 1944 worked almost solely on drawing architectural perspectives for other architects.
“The architectural draughtsman who is equally competent at drawing such incidentals [as landscape and figures] is as rare as the landscape or figure painter who is equally competent at architecture. Harvey was one of those rare men. He would draw a building with a slightly freer hand than an architect would, and his landscape in a slightly more architectural manner than that of a painter.” Perspective in Perspective, Lawrence Wright (Routledge 1983) p234.
Harvey was born in Newfoundland, where his father was a railway engineer, and came to England aged 17, studying at St Paul’s School, London and at the School of Architecture, University College London 1914-1918, being awarded the Donaldson medal. In 1920 he went into practice on his own, designing several interiors with J A Bowden. Amongst his works were the reconstruction and interior decoration of 4 Cleveland Place, London (1936-37), and a house – including all furnishings – in Herne Hill for Dr M I Elliot (1938). After 1944 he primarily worked as a perspective artist and illustrator, a role to which he was particularly well suited.
During the war he was a member of St Paul’s Watch, a group of over one hundred architects and surveyors and artists who kept watch over St Paul’s Cathedral during the blitz, extinguishing fires and helping St Paul’s to survive the war virtually unscathed. The Watch was described as the ‘Best dining club in London’ on account of its influential members.
He retired to Italy, living on the shore of Lake Como, and enjoying the local red wine.
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Condition: Excellent. In original frame (which has been repolished and with new mount). Glass will be removed for overseas shipping, or subject to a significant shipping surcharge.