The arrival of sunshine at last seems very fitting for the opening this week of Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman at the Garden Museum. Uplifting flower paintings based upon his garden at Benton End in Suffolk are on display alongside still-lifes and landscapes at this small exhibition. A devoted plantsman as well as a painter, Morris cultivated over 90 varieties of Iris at the home he shared with partner, Arthur Lett-Haines. The pair founded the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing where Lucian Freud trained and later Maggi Hambling. Cedric Morris is often overlooked in favour of his peers, Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Paul Nash and Christopher Wood but that’s set to be re-addressed with this exhibition and the concurrent, Cedric Morris: Beyond the Garden Wall at the Philip Mould & Company Pall Mall gallery.
Book now for the Garden Museum’s series of lectures that run alongside the exhibitions:
Sarah Cook, former Head Gardener at Sissinghurst and Biologist Clive Lundquist, will be discussing Cedric Morris through his work as a plantsman and an artist, and what we can learn about Morris from this.
An evening of reminiscences of Cedric Morris from those who knew him, including friends such as Lady Wakefield who knew Morris from when she was a child and her mother was part of the Benton End circle, Celia Lyttelton journalist, currently writing a biography of Cedric Morris and Richard Morphet who curated a retrospective of Morris’ work at Tate in 1984.
Jamie Compton shows how important botanical art has been to humanity over the centuries, using a set of images to demonstrate this. In the past identification of plants often included images that enabled people to distinguish between edible and poisonous plants. The illustrative process was immensely revolutionised by the printing process in the 15thcentury. The tools we have available to us today, however, are beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors and make accuracy in identification of plants so much more reliable.