Cedric was a painter of the natural world and one of the most original artists of the 20th century. This work was painted in 1971 towards the end of Morris’s career and depicts one of his favourite subjects – succulents. Morris collected succulents from a young age and some of his earliest works in oils are studies of cacti. Given their resilience, this type of plant was perfect for Morris’s lifestyle which often involved long periods of absence from the studio. This was especially true of his early years in Paris when he would disappear for many months at a time travelling around Europe and North Africa. Every time Morris went away, however, he would bring back another succulent which he would add to his burgeoning collection. This succulents shown here are from the aeonium genus and can be identified by their long stems and thick, wax-like layers of leaves. Aeoniums are native to the Canary Islands and these specimens...

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Cedric was a painter of the natural world and one of the most original artists of the 20th century. This work was painted in 1971 towards the end of Morris’s career and depicts one of his favourite subjects – succulents.

Morris collected succulents from a young age and some of his earliest works in oils are studies of cacti. Given their resilience, this type of plant was perfect for Morris’s lifestyle which often involved long periods of absence from the studio. This was especially true of his early years in Paris when he would disappear for many months at a time travelling around Europe and North Africa. Every time Morris went away, however, he would bring back another succulent which he would add to his burgeoning collection.

This succulents shown here are from the aeonium genus and can be identified by their long stems and thick, wax-like layers of leaves. Aeoniums are native to the Canary Islands and these specimens were almost certainly retrieved by Morris on one of his many trips to the islands in the 1950s with friend and partner Nigel Scott.

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500 Years of British Art