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This work was painted in 1925, soon after Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines moved back to London from Paris and before they moved to The Pound. During this period, they were both working hard to build Morris’s reputation as a leading contemporary artist by networking with potential patrons and gallerists in London.

In between their commitments in London, Morris and Lett never missed an opportunity to escape to the countryside and East Sussex was one of their favourite haunts. They would often stay with friends in Wilmington and the paint the surrounding landscape and local landmarks, such as such as the ‘Wilmington Giant’.[1]

This atmospheric view of a farm documents Morris’ unique working methods. He would always work on canvas, which had the necessary ‘give’, and applied his paint unsparingly, working in a series of small strokes horizontally, line by line. Millie Hayes, student at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing (EASPD), recalls Morris...

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This work was painted in 1925, soon after Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines moved back to London from Paris and before they moved to The Pound. During this period, they were both working hard to build Morris’s reputation as a leading contemporary artist by networking with potential patrons and gallerists in London.

In between their commitments in London, Morris and Lett never missed an opportunity to escape to the countryside and East Sussex was one of their favourite haunts. They would often stay with friends in Wilmington and the paint the surrounding landscape and local landmarks, such as such as the ‘Wilmington Giant’.[1]

This atmospheric view of a farm documents Morris’ unique working methods. He would always work on canvas, which had the necessary ‘give’, and applied his paint unsparingly, working in a series of small strokes horizontally, line by line. Millie Hayes, student at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing (EASPD), recalls Morris advising students not to draw with paint but rather to ‘bounce’ with it across the canvas.[2] It is this unique technique that infuses Morris’ works with a liveliness and a direct sense of presence.

Impasto application of paint became synonymous with Morris’ name. Here, he integrates the natural irregularity of the British countryside with the geometry of the farmyard buildings; at an early stage in his artistic career, Morris nurtured form, colour and texture in his pursuit for compositional harmony. His respect for the landscape and animals is also evident in the way he often emphasizes and presents natural activity in the foreground. Adopting the viewpoint of an undetected observer, Morris is able to capture an endearing glimpse into the uninterrupted natural behavior of a horse and her young foal roaming aimlessly in the grass. Their seeming indifference towards the viewer instills this painting with a calm atmosphere. Morris’ depictions of the British countryside are localized views that synthesise his intuitive understanding of the natural world.

[1] The Wilmington Giant (now often called ‘Long Man of Wilmington’) is mentioned in Lett-Haines, A., c. 1937. Notebook. [Manuscript.] TGA 8317/2/2/1. London: Tate Archives, p. 18.

[2] R. Morphet., Cedric Morris (London: The Tate Gallery, 1984), p.90.

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500 Years of British Art