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This view of an autumnal landscape was painted by Cedric Morris in 1929, soon after he and Arthur Lett-Haines moved to The Pound, near Higham in Suffolk.

After a decade travelling around Europe, in 1927 Morris and Lett moved to London to focus on building Morris’s reputation as contemporary artist. In 1928 he represented in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and in the same year 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 early 1929, Morris and Lett had decided that they wanted to...

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This view of an autumnal landscape was painted by Cedric Morris in 1929, soon after he and Arthur Lett-Haines moved to The Pound, near Higham in Suffolk.

After a decade travelling around Europe, in 1927 Morris and Lett moved to London to focus on building Morris’s reputation as contemporary artist. In 1928 he represented in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and in the same year 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 early 1929, Morris and Lett had decided that they wanted to move out of London and they soon found a suitable home 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 and John Skeaping were regular visitors and the latter’s sculpture could be seen 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 a 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.

In this work, Morris has used dappled greens, warm yellows and opalescent browns, and has approached the subject in his characteristically direct manner with the paint applied straight onto the canvas without any preparatory drawing. Morris’s main intention was to translate through 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.

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500 Years of British Art