About Series : L.H. Davey Paintings

This is a series of cards of scenes in northern Tasmania, reproduced from paintings that Laura H Davey made from photographs.


The Artist:  Laura H Davey was born on 20 August 1857 in Cornwall, England, daughter of Joseph Davey, builder, and Jane nee Skewes, music teacher. The family, including Laura then aged  6, migrated to Australia, arriving in 1863. In Australia, Joseph Davey worked as a builder, and was Inspector of school buildings at Geelong in 1881; at that time the family lived at West Geelong.


Around 1880 Laura Davey studied at the art school of J.H. Scheltema  and Charles Rolando in Melbourne.  From before 1890 until her death in 1914 she conducted an art school from her home in Geelong.


Laura Davey made little impression on the art world in Australia. The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston has no record of her, even though her postcard paintings were of northern Tasmania. Although her obituary said “she gained many distinctions for her oil paintings, some of which are hung in the Geelong Gallery”, she was not widely recognised outside her own city.  The Geelong Gallery has only one of her works catalogued – Roadway at Staughton Vale, a gift from her students in 1915.


Lara Davey apparently made the paintings from photographs. I have been able to recognise only one of the original photos. Below is Laura H Davey's painting on the left, and a printed postcard made from a photograph on the right.



The Printer   The logos of both W.T. Pater and Co. and of Osboldstone and Co. appear on the back of these cards. . The cards were printed by four colour (black, red, blue, yellow) halftone letterpress, and the back of the cards say “Printed in Australia”.   Dr. Tom Darragh of Museum of Victoria considers that the printing plates were made by Osboldstone  and Co. as they were one of the few printers in Australia capable of doing the colour seperations at the time, and the actual printing using these plates was done by W.T. Pater and Co.  


Date of production: The earliest postmark date is 12 July 1907, so the cards were produced before then.