Bessie Devereux, Vase (geometric design), Vase, Three-handled vase, Salt glazed bowl, Salt glazed vase, Potpourri jar, c. 1920s, earthenware, hand decorated and glazed, dimensions variable.                                               Collection: Griffith University

With Heart & Hand: Art Pottery in Queensland 1900–1950 is the most comprehensive survey of the art pottery produced in an Australian state. It includes over one hundred potters from Brisbane and regional areas, whose practices during the early twentieth century significantly influenced art and craft movements throughout Australia.

The exhibition takes as its nucleus the work of pioneering artist Lewis Jarvis (L.J.) Harvey, his students, and the distinctive style that became a hallmark of what is now known as the Harvey School. Harvey’s teaching method was firmly grounded in the British Arts and Crafts Movement, which advocated the revival of hand-production methods. His pottery classes, initiated in 1916 at the Central Technical College in Brisbane, operated for over thirty years and encouraged students to work local clays by hand, a distinct and purposeful alternative to factory-made household items during a period of burgeoning mass manufacture. Harvey’s method was unique globally, and attracted the attention of Vi Eyre, Nell McCredie, and Annie Mitchell, who became prominent practitioners and who transferred his influence interstate.

This project has uncovered the significant number of women who were practising during the period, many of whom were overlooked by past research or credited as hobbyists or “unknown” creators. Though at the time they were rarely regarded as professional artists, these women were vitally important to the development and appreciation of the pottery medium in the early twentieth century. Harvey encouraged the women in his school beyond amateur status: he collected pieces by his leading students, found opportunities for them to exhibit and sell their works professionally, and encouraged them to exhibit nationally.

Opening event

Thursday 13 September at 6 pm

About the Publication

The publication With Heart & Hand: Art Pottery in Queensland 1900–1950 highlights the character of the flourishing artistic scene in Brisbane in the first decades of the twentieth century, reveals the importance of pottery in the development of art teaching in regional areas, and considers the social history intrinsically linked to the medium. New research has uncovered the work of regional potters, re-evaluated the role of women in building the state’s art sector and revealed the importance of art therapy in post–World War I Queensland. The success of projects run by Harvey and his students in rehabilitating the manual skills of returned soldiers and children stricken with infantile paralysis contributed to the establishment in 1955 of occupational therapy as a distinct discipline at the University of Queensland.

With Heart & Hand: Art Pottery in Queensland 1900–1950 expands and builds upon research published in key texts, including Glenn R. Cooke and Deborah Edwards’s L.J. Harvey and His School (1983), Peter Timms’s Australian Studio Pottery and China Painting (1986), and Kevin Fahy, John Freeland, Keith Free, and Andrew Simpson's Australian Art Pottery 1900–1950 (2004), and sheds new light upon the work of china painters and regional potters in Queensland, and Charles Stone’s Pottery, which provided glazing and firing services to local potters in Brisbane.

Publication Orders

RRP Standard edition $125 ( inc GST )

RRP Limited signed edition with print $295 ( inc GST )

Plus postage

Purchase online here or contact Griffith University Art Museum directly. Email: artmuseum@griffith.edu.au Phone: 07 3735 3140.

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