The Orange Chair | Cedric Morris
This brooding still-life was painted at Benton End during the Second World War and is one of Morris’ most enigmatic works from this date.
In this painting Morris explores the still-life genre with sophistication and an intimate understanding of the importance of harmonious relationships between colour and form. The intuitive arrangement of objects within the work is a testament to Morris’ keen eye for successful juxtaposition. The zinc-covered table upon which the ornaments rest can be seen in another work from this date entitled Iris Seedlings (Tate).
The East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing was open all year between 1939 and the winter of 1946. Ordinarily the school was open from April to October each year with a period of rest in which Morris and Lett travelled extensively. In 1944, the school at Benton End was in full swing and Morris, in painting this work, turned away from explicitly depicting the garden in order to capture a quiet moment of interior order. It is a work bound to life at Benton End during the war and one that is one of Morris’ most enduring in spirit and composition.
Travel was an integral part of Cedric Morris's artistic life and as a collector and breeder of exotic species of plants and flowers. Morris was the only person of his generation to achieve national stature both as a painter and a plantsman. It was his release from teaching and planting at his Suffolk home for over forty years, Benton End and it enabled him to paint passionately and independently all the while absorbing the vistas and landscapes of foreign lands.