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This view of the walled garden at Benton End was painted during the Second World War when Morris had replaced many of his flowers with vegetables as a contribution to the war effort. Although living in a time of severe austerity, Benton End managed to retain a degree of its eccentricity during these years. As a result of Morris’ attentive gardening, their guests and a few lucky students enjoyed two home cooked meals a day prepared by Lett, which would sometimes include exotic vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus and peppers grown in pots. Glyn Morgan, who first came to the art school during the summer of 1944 and who previously owned this painting, recalled how he had never experienced cooking like it.



The East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing was founded by Morris and Lett in 1937 in Dedham, Colchester. The school played an important role in the history of twentieth century British art oversaw the early development...

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This view of the walled garden at Benton End was painted during the Second World War when Morris had replaced many of his flowers with vegetables as a contribution to the war effort. Although living in a time of severe austerity, Benton End managed to retain a degree of its eccentricity during these years. As a result of Morris’ attentive gardening, their guests and a few lucky students enjoyed two home cooked meals a day prepared by Lett, which would sometimes include exotic vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus and peppers grown in pots. Glyn Morgan, who first came to the art school during the summer of 1944 and who previously owned this painting, recalled how he had never experienced cooking like it.



The East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing was founded by Morris and Lett in 1937 in Dedham, Colchester. The school played an important role in the history of twentieth century British art oversaw the early development of artists such as Lucian Freud, Maggi Hambling, Bettina Shaw-Lawrence and Glyn Morgan. A fire in the group of buildings in Dedham in late 1939 resulted in the school’s relocation to Benton End, a charming sixteenth-century gabled house overlooking the River Brett in Hadleigh.



At Benton End artists could work independently and free from the traditional hierarchical structures that dominated the London art schools at the time. Morris and Lett aimed to create an environment characterised by the respectful exchange of ideas and pure freedom of expression when creating art. Their guidance for young students at the EASPD was thoughtful and encouraging rather than being purely instructive and rigorously disciplined. This enabled many young artists to flourish and find their individual style through explorative means whilst simultaneously establishing close relationships and lifelong friendships facilitated by the famous Benton End meals and parties.



It was at Benton End that Morris’s life as a plantsman began to take flight and the house soon became famed for both art and floriculture. Having retreated from London in 1929 with Lett, Morris became increasingly well-known for his propagation of rare breeds of iris as he was for his painting. At Benton End, Morris, with his intuitive understanding of colour and form, established a garden that was known and celebrated by artists and horticulturalists alike.

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500 Years of British Art