Harold Harvey was one of the few Cornish-born artists associated with the Newlyn Colony and the Lamorna Artists. He was the son of a bank manager and grew up in Penzance in the 1870s and 1880s, just when the area was becoming an artistic haven.
Harold Harvey studied with Norman Garstin, and in the 1890s he travelled to Paris to study at the Atelier Julian. On his return he continued to live in Penzance until his marriage to fellow painter and regular artists' model Gertrude Bodinar, when they moved to Maen Cottage in Newlyn.
His early work follows the style of the Newlyn Artists but by 1908/10 he had started to move away from that style of work utilising a much brighter palette and a simplification of form. Until 1916 Harvey concentrated on rural and marine themes but from then on his subject matter broadened to include sophisticated interiors.
Harvey had many solo shows and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1898 and then regularly from 1907 to 1941 (although he was never elected as an associate of the Royal Academy). He rarely went to London and preferred to stay in his native Cornwall. He died in Newlyn in 1941.