Cedric Morris consistently worked from species of plants and flowers that he greatly admired and in almost all instances those which he propagated himself at The Pound and later Benton End. Here Morris depicts deep purple Clematis and bright blue Morning Glory (Ipomoea violacea), both of which are climbers, a horticultural detail which Morris has here celebrated in paint. Winding between ivy, the bright flowers climb progressively in a triangular composition.

His keen and scientific understanding of plants and flowers informed his approach when he came to paint them. This imbues his painting with a sense of heightened character and individuality particularly when discerning the formal and tonal differences between flowers. Immersed in the centre of the floral arrangement, and adding to the charm of the painting, is a small bird - perhaps a common house martin. Morris’ respect and love for animals is evident in his painting, as it was in his personal life. Curator and writer...

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Cedric Morris consistently worked from species of plants and flowers that he greatly admired and in almost all instances those which he propagated himself at The Pound and later Benton End. Here Morris depicts deep purple Clematis and bright blue Morning Glory (Ipomoea violacea), both of which are climbers, a horticultural detail which Morris has here celebrated in paint. Winding between ivy, the bright flowers climb progressively in a triangular composition.

His keen and scientific understanding of plants and flowers informed his approach when he came to paint them. This imbues his painting with a sense of heightened character and individuality particularly when discerning the formal and tonal differences between flowers. Immersed in the centre of the floral arrangement, and adding to the charm of the painting, is a small bird - perhaps a common house martin. Morris’ respect and love for animals is evident in his painting, as it was in his personal life. Curator and writer Ben Tufnell insightfully poses the differences between Morris, the artist plantsman, and his outgoing partner Lett;

Lett, as an artist and otherwise, was totally engaged in the contemporary. In contrast to Cedric, who loved nature, professed to enjoy the company of birds and animals above humans…[1]

During the early stages of the 1930s, a decade before this painting was executed, Morris and Lett became increasingly withdrawn from the commercial art scene in London. By this point Morris had already established himself as one of the most sought after painters in England at the time and yet the fashions and tastes of London began to seem somewhat stifling for an artist drawn to the countryside and the freedom that came with it. They had given up their Great Ormond Street Studio at the start of the decade and slowly the couple detached themselves from the professional art scene. Morris severed ties with his long-time dealership Arthur Tooth & Sons in 1932 and resigned from the 7 & 5 Society the same year despite having been elected Chairman of the group on 3rd January 1931 by his fellow members including Ben and Winifred Nicholson.

By the 1940s, when this painting was executed, Morris was able to focus more vehemently on his depictions of the flowers which he cultivated in his garden. This work is the result of an increasing retreat from the hectic demands of city life and the proceeding years which enabled him to focus on his true passion – painting nature.

[1] B. Tufnell., Cedric Morris & Lett Haines: Teaching Art and Life (Norfolk: Norfolk Museums & Archaeology, 2003) p.6.

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500 Years of British Art