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Past Exhibition: Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman

Paintings of Flowers and Gardens

British artist Cedric Morris (1889 – 1982) was the only person of his generation to achieve national stature both as a painter and a plantsman. To celebrate Morris, two concurrent exhibitions will constitute the first major reassessment of Morris on over 30 years. These exhibitions, entitled Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman and Cedric Morris: Beyond the Garden Wall were held at the Garden Museum and Philip Mould & Company gallery in Pall Mall respectively.

Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman, the first museum show of Morris’ work in over 30 years, showed how the two disciplines, of art and botany, intertwined to form one of the most remarkable artistic lives of the 20th century. As well as painting portraits, still-lifes and landscapes representing his expansive travels, Morris is best known for his flower paintings, which reveal his keen interest as a botanist – he cultivated over 90 new irises – and the exhibition at the Garden Museum focused on these horticultural works that took flower painting out of the taxonomic sphere, into an expressionist mode with echoes of surrealism and cubism. The home he shared in Suffolk with his lifelong partner Arthur Lett-Haines was a hub of artistic meeting and activity and in 1937 the pair founded the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing. There Morris taught Lucian Freud, whose practice he was hugely influential in developing, and later Maggi Hambling. A contemporary and friend of artists Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Paul Nash and Christopher Wood, Morris was a crucial figure in the British Modern tradition and the exhibition will reinstate him at the forefront of the British avant-garde.


This exhibition was complemented by a catalogue written by Andrew Lambirth, curator of the exhibition. The catalogue is priced at £20 and is available in the Garden Museum shop, or can be posted within the UK by request, please contact to find out more.

This exhibition was held in partnership with the exhibition Cedric Morris: Beyond the Garden Wall at the Philip Mould & Company Pall Mall gallery, a 30 minute walk from the Museum. This exhibition ran for the same length of time and showed Cedric Morris’ landscape paintings.