Books

Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman

ISBN: 9781527222120
Artist(s): Cedric Morris
Author(s): Andrew Lambirth
Format: hardback
Year published: 2018
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 64
Illustrations: Illustrated in colour

Artist(s) Biographies:

Author(s) Biographies:

£40.00

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At the Garden Museum, Cedric Morris’s flower paintings are shown in a single room, hung close together on walls painted a deep, earthy purple. It has the effect of a flowerbed: long-stemmed tulips, feathery irises, and bright poppies jostling for attention, their luminous colours glowing from the mulch.

Morris was a plantsman and a painter. Disillusioned with the art market and known for his charming misanthropy, he wintered on the Mediterranean and spent his summers at The Pound and then Benton End, the Suffolk homes he shared with his partner, the artist Arthur Lett-Haines. He would wake at 6am to begin weeding his garden, where he crossbred irises and pollinated tulips and poppies by hand. When he painted, he did so indoors, mostly from memory, though occasionally a cut stem would be required to remind him of a plant’s structure.

The flower paintings, for which he is best known, have the precision of a naturalist; his garden, with its unorthodox mix of exotic blooms and common plants, has the palette of a painter. The exhibition brings these dual aspects together through its biographical and material focus. Alongside his vibrant paintings, Morris’s meticulous garden notebooks are displayed, teasing out the symbiosis between plants and art. The Garden Museum’s exhibition, which is concurrent with a display of Morris’s landscapes at Philip Mould & Company, seeks to restore the artist’s reputation at the forefront of the avant-garde; alongside Paul Nash, Christopher Wood and Winifred Nicholson, Morris is increasingly understood as a crucial figure in British modernism.

Condition: Fine

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