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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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William Henry Harvey

c. 1850
Thomas Herbert Maguire (lithographer)

lithograph on paper (sheet: 37.0 cm x 28.4 cm, image: 28.9 cm x 24.0 cm)

William Henry Harvey (1811-1866), botanist, formed a boyhood passion for natural history which was encouraged at Ballitore School, County Kildare. At 20 he began a long association with William Jackson Hooker who commissioned him to describe certain groups in the new edition of the British Flora and introduced him to many botanists. Through (Sir) Joseph Hooker, Harvey received algal collections from expeditions to the Pacific and southern hemisphere. These he described in his Nereis Australis (London, 1847-49) and as a contributor in J. D. Hooker, Flora Tasmaniae (London, 1860). Harvey wanted to visit New South Wales, but in 1835, through family connections, he became treasurer in Cape Town. There he continued his botanical work, publishing A Manual of the British Marine Algae (1841), and preparing three volumes of Flora Capensis (1859-1865). In 1842 he returned to Dublin, where he became curator of the Trinity College herbarium, professor of botany of the Royal Dublin Society, and in 1856, chair of botany at Trinity College; he held all three posts until 1866. In 1849 he toured the United States as guest of the Smithsonian Institute and Harvard University; later, he published much about American algae. Granted leave by Trinity College he sailed for Western Australia, arriving at Albany on 7 January 1854; after a month at Cape Riche he went overland to Perth where he visited Fremantle and Rottnest and Garden Islands. He collected 10 000 specimens, describing some in 'Some Account of the Marine Botany of the Colony of Western Australia' (Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy of Science, 1855) and naming many algae after botanists in the colony. He reached Victoria in September 1854 and collected in Port Phillip, Westernport Bays and Port Fairy. On advice of Ferdinand von Mueller he discovered at Queenscliff many new algae, naming them after Victorian associates and publishing the collection in Phycologia Australica (1858-1863). In January 1855 he went to Tasmania. At George Town he investigated seaweeds and at Deloraine collected seeds and land plants. He collected seaweeds at Eaglehawk Neck and Dead Island, and also gave much attention to the Port Arthur penal establishment. Returning to Sydney he went by steamer to Newcastle. In the John Wesley he visited New Zealand, Tonga and the Fiji Islands and returned after six months to Sydney. After recuperation at Kiama he sailed by way of Valparaiso for Dublin, arriving in October 1856. Despite failing health Harvey published more monumental works which are still used as working manuals, particularly in Australia. His herbarium is at Trinity College, Dublin, but some duplicates from his travelling sets are in the National Herbarium of Victoria. Two sets of his Algae Australiae Exsiccatae in book form are in the Mitchell Library, Sydney. Also interested in theology, he published Charles and Josiah: or Friendly Conversations Between a Churchman and a Quaker in 1862.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Thomas Herbert Maguire (age 29 in 1850)

William Henry Harvey (age 39 in 1850)

Subject professions

Science and technology

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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