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Sir Cedric Morris | Post-Impressionist painter

Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris, 9th Baronet (11 December 1889 - 8 February 1982) was a British artist, art teacher and plantsman.
He was born in Swansea in South Wales, but worked mainly in East Anglia.
As an artist he is best known for his portraits, flower paintings and landscapes.

Painting style

Cedric Morris had a distinctive and often rather primitive post-Impressionist style, and painted portraits, landscapes and very decorative still lifes of flowers and birds.
In his analysis of Morris's paintings, Richard Morphet has suggested that the "unusual force of Cedric's paintings derives from the projection of the subject through a dynamic economy in combination with an acute sense of pictorial realism".

As a portrait painter he produced notable studies of subjects such as Arthur Lett-Haines (1919; 1925; 1928), Anita Berry (1920), Hilaire Hiler (1920), John Banting (1923), Rupert Doone (ca. 1923), Mary Butts (1924), Barbara Hepworth (1931), Arthur Elton (1931), Rosamond Lehmann (1932), Audrey Debenham (1935), The Sisters [F. Byng Stamper and C. Byng Lucas] (1935), Gladys Hynes (1936), Millie Gomersall/Hayes (1936; 1966), Lucian Freud (1940) who painted him in the same year (National Museum of Wales)), Richard Chopping (1941), Mrs Ernest Freud (1942?), Belle of Bloomsbury (1948), as well as a striking portrait of himself in 1919.

Early life

Cedric Lockwood Morris was born on 11 December 1889 in Sketty, Swansea, the son of George Lockwood Morris, industrialist and iron founder, and Wales rugby international, and his wife Wilhelmina (née Cory, see Cory baronets).
He had two sisters - Muriel, who died in her teens, and Nancy (born in 1893).
His mother had studied painting and was an accomplished needlewoman; on his father's side he was descended from Sir John Morris, 1st Baronet, whose sister Margaret married Noel Desenfans and helped him and his friend, Francis Bourgeois, to build up the collection now housed in the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
Cedric was sent away to be educated, at St Cyprian's School, Eastbourne, and Charterhouse School in Godalming.
Having failed the entrance exams for an army commission, at the age of 17 he set out on a steamship to Ontario, Canada, to work on a farm.

After a succession of jobs, including as a dishwasher and bellboy in New York City, he returned to South Wales, and then entered the Royal College of Music, London, to study singing.
But he gave up singing for painting, and went to Paris, where from April 1914 he studied at the Académie Delécluse in Montparnasse before the interruption of World War I.
During the war he joined the Artists' Rifles, but before embarking for France was declared medically unfit for action in consequence of the effects of a failed operation during his childhood.
As an experienced horseman, however, he was allocated to the training of remounts at Lord Rosslyn's stables at Theale, Berkshire.
He worked in the company of Alfred Munnings, under Cecil Aldin.
He was discharged from this when the army took over the remounts in 1917.

Cornwall, Paris and London

Morris went to Zennor in Cornwall, where he studied plants and painted water colours. There he became friendly with the painter Frances Hodgkins, whose portrait he painted. At the time of the Armistice with Germany in November 1918 he was in London, when he met the painter Arthur Lett-Haines. Morris and Lett-Haines fell in love and began a life-time relationship, and shortly afterwards Morris moved in with Lett-Haines and his second wife, Aimee.
The trio planned to go to America, but in the event Aimee Lett-Haines left on her own, and the two men moved to Cornwall. They converted a row of cottages at Newlyn into a larger house and stayed there until the end of 1920, when they moved to Paris.
Paris was their base for the next five years, when they travelled extensively in Europe. Morris also studied at the Academies Moderne and La Grande Chaumiere.

Morris had successful exhibitions in London in 1924 and 1926, and later in that year they settled back in Britain.
After staying with his sister Nancy Morris in Corfe, Morris and Haines found a studio in London at Great Ormond Street to which they moved in 1927.
Morris became a member of the London Artists' Association and the Seven and Five Society, for which he was proposed by Winifred Nicholson and seconded by Ben Nicholson.
He became especially friendly with the painter Christopher Wood, and renewed friendship with Frances Hodgkins.
At the end of the 1920s Morris became involved with much commercial work designing textiles for Cresta Silks with Paul Nash and posters for Shell and BP.

Country life

Morris chose the country life to pursue his passion for horticulture.
Early in 1929 Morris and his companion took the lease of Pound Farm, Higham, Suffolk, and in February 1930 they gave up the London studio.
In 1932 the owner of Pound Farm, Vivien Gribble, who was for a while a student, died and left it to Morris. Morris had resigned from the Seven and Five Society in 1930 and he resigned from the London Artists' Association in 1933.
There were many visitors at Pound Farm, including Frances Hodgkins, Barbara Hepworth and John Skeaping. Joan Warburton who was a student described Pound Farm as a paradise, mainly because of the spectacular gardens which Morris developed.

She was also impressed by their spectacular parties.
Morris often went painting in his native South Wales, and in 1935 at the time of the Depression was moved by the plight of the people of South Wales Valleys.
He initiated a major touring exhibition of Welsh art in 1935, and was a regular teacher at Mary Horsfall's arts' centre at Merthyr Tydfil.
In 1935 he painted two large flower murals on board the liner Queen Mary.
In late 1937 Morris and Haines joined the Hadleigh Labour Party after attending a meeting addressed by Professor Catlin.

East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing

Morris and Lett-Haines opened the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Dedham in April 1937.
Within a year they had 60 students. Lucian Freud was one of his most noted students. Other students include Maggi Hambling and Joan Warburton.
In 1939 the building at Dedham was destroyed by fire (with several of Morris's paintings also destroyed) to the conspicuous delight of Alfred Munnings.
By the end of the year the school was re-established at Benton End. Benton End was a rambling 'Suffolk Pink' farmhouse on the outskirts of Hadleigh, set in 3 or 4 acres (1.6 ha) of orchard.
Dating from the 16th century, the house is reputed to have been designed by Sir Peter Cheyney and since 1950 it has been Grade II* listed.
Morris was intolerant of cruelty to animals and at Benton End had a running feud with a local gamekeeper who shot cats and dogs - until the latter tripped over his shotgun and killed himself.

His housekeeper was Millie Hayes (née Gomersall, 1916-2001). She studied at Benton End under Morris and his 1936 portrait of her was displayed at The Minories Art Gallery, Colchester.
In 1941 she exhibited the painting Landscape from the Garden at the Ipswich Art Club.
Another painting Hadleigh was sold at auction by Christie's in 1997.
Morris painted her portrait a second time in 1964 and she was a beneficiary under his will. She died at Ipswich in 2001 and a small commemorative headstone is located at the back of Morris's in Hadleigh cemetery.

Horticulture and other interests

In addition to running the school, Morris indulged his passion for plants. He grew about 1,000 new Iris seedlings each year and opened Benton End to display his collection.
He produced at least 90 named varieties, 45 of which were registered with the American Iris Society.
Some were sold commercially and exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Many of his named varieties carried the prefix "Benton", including 'Benton Menace' named after his cats, and 'Benton Rubeo', named for his pet macaw.

He also used to walk the fields and hedgerows searching for softer colour variants of poppies. Morris's work as a horticulturalist resulted in a number of plants being named after him.
Morris bred birds as a hobby and his knowledge and understanding of them may have contributed to his ability to paint them.
In his Peregrine Falcons (1942), the birds are presented in a slightly formalised and simplified manner.
His intention, he explained, was to "provoke a lively sympathy with the mood of the birds which ornithological exactitude may tend to destroy".

Later life

In 1946, along with Henry Collins, Lett Haines, John Nash and Roderic Barrett, Morris became one of the founders of Colchester Art Society and later the society's president.
In 1947 the Morris baronetcy came to his father from a distant cousin three months before his death and Cedric Morris succeeded his father in the same year to become the 9th baronet. He became a lecturer at the Royal College of Art in 1950.
From about 1975 Morris virtually gave up painting because of failing eyesight.
He died on 8 February 1982. His former pupil, Maggi Hambling visited him on the day before his death and afterwards drew a portrait of him.
His grave, near that of Arthur Lett-Haines, in Hadleigh cemetery is marked by a Welsh slate headstone cut by Donald Simpson.
In 1984 the Tate Gallery held a retrospective exhibition of Morris's work. | Source: © Wikipedia

Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris, 9° Baronetto (11 dicembre 1889 - 8 febbraio 1982) è stato un artista, insegnante d'arte e piantatore Britannico.
È nato a Swansea, nel Galles del Sud, ma ha lavorato principalmente nell'East Anglia.
Come artista è noto soprattutto per i suoi ritratti, dipinti floreali e paesaggi.
Cedric Morris aveva uno stile post-impressionista distintivo e spesso piuttosto primitivo e dipingeva ritratti, paesaggi e nature morte molto decorative di fiori ed uccelli.
Nella sua analisi dei dipinti di Morris, Richard Morphet ha suggerito che "la forza insolita dei dipinti di Cedric deriva dalla proiezione del soggetto attraverso un'economia dinamica in combinazione con un acuto senso di realismo pittorico".

Lucian Freud | Portrait of Sir Cedric Morris

Morris e Lett-Haines aprirono la East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing a Dedham nell'aprile 1937.

In un anno avevano 60 studenti. Lucian Freud è stato uno dei suoi studenti più famosi. Altri studenti includono Maggi Hambling e Joan Warburton.

Oltre a gestire la scuola, Morris ha assecondato la sua passione per le piante. Ha coltivato circa 1.000 nuove piantine di Iris ogni anno e ha aperto Benton End per mostrare la sua collezione.
Ha prodotto almeno 90 varietà denominate, 45 delle quali sono state registrate presso l'American Iris Society.
Alcuni sono stati venduti commercialmente ed esposti al Chelsea Flower Show.
Molte delle sue varietà con nome portavano il prefisso "Benton", tra cui "Benton Menace" dal nome dei suoi gatti e "Benton Rubeo", dal nome del suo ara da compagnia.

Era anche solito camminare nei campi e nelle siepi alla ricerca di varianti di colore più tenui dei papaveri.
Il lavoro di Morris come orticoltore ha portato a numerose piante che hanno preso il suo nome.
Morris allevava uccelli come hobby e la sua conoscenza e comprensione di loro potrebbero aver contribuito alla sua capacità di dipingerli.
Nei suoi Falchi pellegrini (1942), gli uccelli sono presentati in maniera leggermente formalizzata e semplificata.
La sua intenzione, ha spiegato, era di "provocare una viva simpatia per l'umore degli uccelli che l'esattezza ornitologica può tendere a distruggere".