Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris, Bt. (1889-1982)
This work was painted not long after Morris and Lett moved to The Pound and depicts the rolling Suffolk countryside in autumn.
The landscape views painted by Cedric Morris during the late 1920s are some of his most accomplished works...
After a decade travelling around Europe with partner Arthur Lett-Haines (1894-1978), in 1929 Morris was back in London and was successfully building a reputation as a leading British artist. In 1928 he represented in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and in 1929 he staged his first sell-out show at Arthur Tooth & Sons. This new success – forged in no small part by the relentless energy of his partner Lett – also brought a growing sense of discontent and on more than one occasion Morris clashed with the galleries who represented him. Morris disliked the way that the galleries would pander to the demands of collectors and how they would ask him to paint works with little more than profit in mind. By late 1929, therefore, Morris and Lett had decided that they wanted to move out of London and by early 1930 they were living at The Pound, a sixteenth century farmhouse in Higham in Suffolk.
In 1932 the owner of The Pound, Vivien Gribble, died and bequeathed it to Morris. Morris and Lett transformed the house into an artist’s paradise with luscious gardens full of colourful flowers, ponds and exotic birds. Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947) and John Skeaping (1901-1980) were regular visitors and the latter’s sculpture could be seen dotted throughout the gardens. Morris was a keen gardener and was often referred to as an ‘Artist Plantsman’. During the peak of his gardening years Morris would grow around one-thousand new iris seedlings each year and visitors would travel from around the country to view his colourful collection. Morris also named around ninety varieties of iris, many of which were immortalised in his still-life paintings.
This view of the rolling hills of Suffolk in autumn was painted just before Morris and Lett began their new life in Higham on one of their many sojourns out to the countryside. Using dappled greens, warm yellows and opalescent browns, Morris has approached the subject in a direct manner and has applied the paint straight onto the canvas without any preparatory drawing. Morris’s main intention was to translate in paint the overall atmosphere of a view which appealed to him and cared little for precise topographical accuracy. His compositions are thus wholly original and capture the mood of the English countryside in a manner quite unlike any painter of his generation.