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The Clay Pit, Harold Harvey (1874-1941)
Oil on canvas, Newlyn School, 1923. View of Leswidden China Clay Works near St Just. This painting shows the harsh, labour-intensive working conditions of a china clay pit. Leswidden China Clay Works, near St Just, was a more primitive works than the larger, more mechanised works in the St Austell area. The pit was closed before 1942. Harold Harvey was one of the few successful artists of the period who was born and raised in Cornwall. He grew up surrounded by the industry he would later paint and counted many of the working people he depicted as friends. He originally studied under Norman Garstin, but also visited Paris as a young man where he was greatly influenced by the Post-Impressionist movement. His earlier work was very much influenced by Stanhope Forbes, though it changed as he grew older, his brushwork becoming less thick and his forms more simple. Some of his later work shows a period stylisation but without the Picasso influences of his contemporaries Ernest and Dod Procter. Harvey continued to work right up to his death in 1941.