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 George Frederick Harvey  (1806 - 1876)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/Scotland      Known for: history, religion, portrait and genre painting

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Sir George Harvey is primarily known as George Frederick Harvey

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
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Sir George Frederick Harvey was a Scottish painter, the son of a watchmaker and was born at St Ninians, near Stirling. Soon after his birth his parents removed to Stirling, where George was apprenticed to a bookseller. His love for art having, however, become very decided, in his eighteenth year, he entered the Trustees' Academy at Edinburgh. Here he so distinguished himself that in 1826 he was invited by the Scottish artists, who had resolved to found a Scottish academy, to join it as an associate (see Royal Scottish Academy).

Harvey's first picture, A Village School, was exhibited in 1826 at the Edinburgh Institution, (forerunner of the Edinburgh Academy) and from the time of the opening of the Edinburgh Academy in the following year, he continued annually to exhibit.

His best-known pictures are those depicting historical episodes in religious history from a puritan or evangelical point of view, such as Covenanters' Preaching, Covenanters' Communion, John Bunyan and his Blind Daughter, Sabbath Evening and the Quitting of the Manse.

He was, however, equally popular in Scotland for subjects not directly religious; and The Bowlers, A Highland Funeral, The Curlers, A Schule Skailin' and Children Blowing Bubbles in the Church-yard of Greyfriars', Edinburgh, manifest the same close observation of character, artistic conception and conscientious elaboration of details.

In The Night Mail and Dawn Revealing the New World to Columbus, the aspects of nature are, made use of in different ways, but with equal happiness, to lend impressiveness and solemnity to human concerns. He also painted landscapes and portraits.

In 1829 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Scottish Academy; in 1864 he succeeded Sir JW Gordon as president; and he was knighted in 1867. He died at 21 Regent Terrace in Edinburgh on 22 January 1876.

Sir George Harvey was the author of a paper on the "Colour of the Atmosphere," read before the Edinburgh Royal Society, and afterwards published with illustrations in Good Words; and in 1870, he published a small volume entitled Notes of the Early History of the Royal Scottish Academy.

Selections from the Works of Sir George Harvey, PRSA, described by the Rev. AL Simpson, FSA Scot., and photographed by Thomas Annan, appeared at Edinburgh in 1869.

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