Paintings of Flowers and Gardens
This April will see the opening of two concurrent exhibitions of ‘artist plantsman’ Cedric Morris (1889–1982), at the Garden Museum and Philip Mould & Company. Though at the forefront of the Modern British avant-garde – a close friend and contemporary of Ben and Winifred Nicholson, John Nash and Christopher Wood – Morris’ story has been largely neglected in recent years. 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. These two exhibitions will constitute the first major reassessment of Morris in over 30 years. 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 will focus on these horticultural works that took flower painting out of the taxonomic sphere, into an expressionist mode with echoes of surrealism and cubism. Philip Mould & Company will complement these works with an exhibition of landscapes of his extensive travels.