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Morris’s preoccupation with nature and travel converge here in this characterful painting of the garden at Myrtle Cottage in Newlyn, Cornwall. Myrtle Cottage was the home of Morris’ sister Nancy and this work was painted whilst he was visiting her in November 1947. Morris was very familiar with Newlyn and the surrounding area, having lived there for nearly three years between 1917 and 1920 before moving to Paris.



Swathes of verdant green and deciduous trees are reminiscent of winter and Morris successfully captures the peaceful essence of this quiet space. Evident in this painting and typical in the Morris’s other works is his refusal to reproduce what was in front of him, instead favouring ‘the emotion of the landscape… with its corresponding characteristics’.[1]



Indeed, the art historian Richard Morphet described Morris’s artistic outlook as ‘realism but not reality’ in his catalogue to the 1984 Tate retrospective of Morris’s paintings. An underlying tension between the descriptive representation of what Morris...

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Morris’s preoccupation with nature and travel converge here in this characterful painting of the garden at Myrtle Cottage in Newlyn, Cornwall. Myrtle Cottage was the home of Morris’ sister Nancy and this work was painted whilst he was visiting her in November 1947. Morris was very familiar with Newlyn and the surrounding area, having lived there for nearly three years between 1917 and 1920 before moving to Paris.



Swathes of verdant green and deciduous trees are reminiscent of winter and Morris successfully captures the peaceful essence of this quiet space. Evident in this painting and typical in the Morris’s other works is his refusal to reproduce what was in front of him, instead favouring ‘the emotion of the landscape… with its corresponding characteristics’.[1]



Indeed, the art historian Richard Morphet described Morris’s artistic outlook as ‘realism but not reality’ in his catalogue to the 1984 Tate retrospective of Morris’s paintings. An underlying tension between the descriptive representation of what Morris saw directly in front of him and the overall directedness with which he executed his own interpretation of reality pervades many of his paintings.[2]



Texture forms a dominant aspect of his work, further heightened by his impasto application of paint.[3] This technique enables Morris to unite differing forms, textures and colours to create a unified whole; the naturally rugged shapes of the garden here merge effortlessly with the solid structure of the building in the background.



Myrtle Cottage, near Penzance, was the home of Morris’s sister, Nancy. Morris was very familiar with Newlyn and the surrounding area, having lived there for nearly three years between 1917 and 1920 before moving to Paris. He would often return to visit Nancy and this work was painted on one such trip in November 1947.

[1] A. M. Berry, La Nacion (Buenos Aires, 1924) quoted in Cedric Morris (1889-1982): Beyond the Garden Wall (London: Philip Mould Ltd., 2018) p.17.

[2] L. Lewis, ‘Catalogue Entries’, in Cedric Morris (1889-1982): Beyond the Garden Wall (London: Philip Mould Ltd., 2018) p.102.

[3] L. Lewis, ‘Catalogue Entries’, in Cedric Morris (1889-1982): Beyond the Garden Wall (London: Philip Mould Ltd., 2018) p.78.

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500 Years of British Art