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This intense, small-scale study of irises and tulips was painted by Cedric Morris in the mid-1930s and was given as a present to the highly influential art collector and gallerist Peggy Guggenheim.



Peggy was a friend and supporter of Morris and in 1938 staged a solo-exhibition of his portraits at her gallery in London. The opening night was eventful to say the least. One of the guests, an architect named Mr Silvertoe, took an extreme dislike to Morris’ portraits and proceeded to burn copies of the exhibition catalogue. Morris retaliated by punching the man - ‘the walls were splattered with blood’, Peggy later recalled. The well-publicised pandemonium only added to the exhibition’s intrigue and soon positive reviews came rolling in. It was perhaps in gratitude (or maybe as an apology) that Morris gave the present work to Peggy.



This painting is smaller than Morris’ average still-life work from this date but no less powerful. In fact, the mood of the...

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This intense, small-scale study of irises and tulips was painted by Cedric Morris in the mid-1930s and was given as a present to the highly influential art collector and gallerist Peggy Guggenheim.



Peggy was a friend and supporter of Morris and in 1938 staged a solo-exhibition of his portraits at her gallery in London. The opening night was eventful to say the least. One of the guests, an architect named Mr Silvertoe, took an extreme dislike to Morris’ portraits and proceeded to burn copies of the exhibition catalogue. Morris retaliated by punching the man - ‘the walls were splattered with blood’, Peggy later recalled. The well-publicised pandemonium only added to the exhibition’s intrigue and soon positive reviews came rolling in. It was perhaps in gratitude (or maybe as an apology) that Morris gave the present work to Peggy.



This painting is smaller than Morris’ average still-life work from this date but no less powerful. In fact, the mood of the floral scene is intensified on this scale with the deep purple irises and colourful tulips boldly juxtaposed against an almost black background.

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500 Years of British Art