On a visit to Dunedin in January I visited Olveston Historic Home. For those of you not familiar with this house it was built between 1904-1907 for Dunedin businessman, collector and philanthropist David Theomin, along with his wife Marie and their two children Edward and Dorothy.
David Theomin had a long and active association with the city of Dunedin and was an active private collector of art, ceramics and furniture. The art collection contains many prized works by local and international artists.
The house has a wonderful lived-in atmosphere and preserves the family through its contents. It’s a time capsule as little has changed since it was the Theomin family home.
After the death of her parents and brother, and having no heirs to the family the house and the original family possessions were gifted to the city in 1966 by Miss Dorothy Theomin and it was opened to the public the following year.
As mentioned, the house has a wonderful collection of art, and two pictures in particular hanging in the drawing room caught my interest as they had a look and style of the Newlyn School of Artists. I made some enquires and was proved right. The artist was Harold Harvey.
Harold Harvey (1874–1941) was a Newlyn School painter who painted scenes of working-class Cornish fishermen, farmers and miners and Cornish landscapes and worked in both oils and watercolour. He was born in Penzance and trained at the Penzance School of Arts under Norman Garstin and J P Laurens at the Académie Julian in Paris (1894–1896). His wife, Gertrude was a well-known flower and landscape painter. They lived for many years in Newlyn where he ran the Harvey-Proctor School. Harold Harvey exhibited with the Royal Academy from 1898-1940. Late in his life he converted to Catholicism. He died in Newlyn on 19 May 1941 and was buried in Penzance at the Heamoor Cemetery. Gertrude lived in their cottage until 1960 when she moved into a St Just nursing home. She died six years later.
Unfortunately, I was unable to take photographs of the actual pictures in the house, so I apologize for the quality as these were taken from the reference catalogue. However, it was a great find and another wonderful Cornish connection to add to our ever-growing list.