Sculptor and teacher, born in London. He left school at 14 to work as an electrician. During National Service in the Army in Egypt, 1945–8, saw a head of Ramases II which inspired him to be a sculptor. After work in the artificial limb factory at Roehampton and evening art classes, in 1950 he enrolled as full-time student of sculpture at Hammersmith School of Art. Was most helped by John Skeaping at Royal College of Art, 1953–6, and in 1954 made first appearance in RA Summer Exhibition with Seated Girl. Harpley was to become known for his sculptures of attractive girls, using props such as swings, bicycles and hammocks. He was elected a fellow of RBS in 1963, RA in 1981. From 1972 he taught for a time at Leicester Polytechnic. Harpley carried out a number of ambitious figure groups in bronze, such as Dockworker for London County Council for the Lansbury Estate in Poplar.

Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)

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