Our Past Exhibitions

The Early Years

The early years


Walter Harvey started the company at the beginning of the 1950s in Chalk Farm in London and quickly realised the importance of promoting the business through exhibiting at antiques fairs from the twice yearly Chelsea Antiques Fair to the grandest of occasions at the Grosvenor House Antiques Fair. Although I had always had an interest in antiques having been surrounded by pieces at home, it wasn’t really until I joined him full time in the shop at Chalk Farm in 1973 that I developed and shared his passion for fine English Antique Furniture. This love of pieces allowed him to give me the freedom to mount special, themed exhibitions annually as an extension of our commitments to the fairs.

Chalk Farm Brochure

Located in a series of showrooms on 67/70 Chalk Farm Road, only five minutes away from the heart of London, Harvey’s began its journey.

Situated between Hampstead and Camden Town, the original Chalk Farm dates back to the 17th century when north-west London was truly rural. It derives its name from the local constituency of those times, known as The Chalcotts. When it ceased to be a farm, the premises were mostly occupied by craftsmen and artists and became a well-known haunt for members of the Camden Group of Post-Impressionist artists in the early 20th century; Walter Sickert, renowned British painter and printmaker, even had his studio here.

The original stables and haylofts were converted into numerous showrooms leading off a secluded courtyard – the old farmyard – approached through the shop entrance at number 70 leaving behind the bustling urban activity of Chalk Farm Road. It was in these showrooms that Harvey’s displayed a unique selection of 17th, 18th, and early 19th century English furniture together with a varied range of other fine antiques.

Thomas Chippendale

In the summer of 1978, Harvey’s hosted their first themed exhibition named after the famous cabinetmaker “Thomas Chippendale”. This was held in their extensive premises at Chalk Farm in London to honour 200 years since the great cabinetmaker’s passing and explored the works of Chippendale and his English contemporaries in the Rococo manner of the 18th century. The exhibition included items in the Chinese Chippendale, Gothic Chippendale, and Neo-classical idioms.

David Harvey recounts, “We were delighted to welcome the late Roy Kinnear, the famous actor, who very graciously opened the exhibition in aid of charity and set the tone for a summer exhibition to be held annually over the next half century. Finding the pieces for this, researching the life and times of Chippendale, and writing the first of many catalogues was a very exciting project which helped place Harvey’s at the forefront of dealing in Fine English Furniture and works of art in London.”

If you note some handwritten comments in the margins of this catalogue, this is because this was David Harvey’s own personal copy and is the sole surviving example.