Cedric Morris

Cedric Morris

Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris, 9th Baronet (11 December 1889 - 8 February 1982) was a Welsh artist, known for his portraits, flower paintings and landscapes, and an eminent plantsman.

Early Life

Morris was born in Sketty, Swansea, the son of George Lockwood Morris, ironfounder and Welsh rugby international, and his wife Wilhelmina Cory. He was educated at St Cyprian's School Eastbourne and Charterhouse. He failed the exams to enter the army and at the age of 17 set out on a steamship to Ontario, Canada to work on a farm. After a succession of jobs, including as a dishwasher and bell boy in New York, he returned to Wales and entered the Royal College of Music to study singing. He gave up singing for painting and went to Paris where he trained briefly at the Academie Delacluse in Montparnasse before the interruption of World War I. He joined the Artists Rifles, but failed a medical examination before embarking for France as a result of a failed operation in childhood. As he was an experienced horseman, he was allocated to training Remounts at Lord Rosslyn's stables at Theale, Berkshire. He worked in the company of Alfred Munnings, under Cecil Aldin. He was discharged when the army took over the Remounts in 1917.


Morris went to Zennor in Cornwall where he studied plants and painted water colours. There he became friendly with Frances Hodgkins whose portrait he painted. After the war, he returned to Paris to continue his studies. During the 1920s, he travelled extensively and after a time in London left there in 1934 for the Essex-Suffolk border. He and his companion Arthur Lett-Haines settled first at Pound Farm, Dedham, Essex, and then a few miles away at Benton End, Hadleigh, Suffolk. With Lett-Haines, he co-founded the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Dedham. Lucian Freud was one of his most noted students. Morris had a distinctive and often rather primitive post-Impressionist style, and painted portraits, landscapes and very decorative still-lifes of flowers and birds. As a portrait painter, he produced notable studies of subjects such as Rosamond Lehmann (1932) and Lucian Freud (1940). He became a lecturer at the Royal College of Art in 1950.

Works in Public Galleries
*Frances Hodgkins 1917 Tate
*Self Portrait 1919 NMGW
*Patisseries and a croissant 1922 Tate
*Experiment in textures 1923 Tate
*Landscape:Vallee de L'Oueze 1925 NMGW
*From a window at 45 Brook Street London 1926
*Self Portrait 1930 NPG
*Solva 1934 Norwich
*Antonia White 1936 NPG
*David and Barbara 1940 Tate
*Stoke by Nayland Church 1940 NMGW
*Lucien Freud 1941 Tate
*Peregrine Falcons 1942 Tate
*Iris Seedlings 1943 Tate
*Eggs 1944 Tate
*Belle of Bloomsbury 1948 Tate


Morris chose the country life to pursue his passion for horticulture. Benton End was a rambling 'Suffolk Pink' farmhouse at the edge of the village, set in three or four acres of orchard. Morris grew about 1000 new Iris seedlings each year and opened the house to display his collection, and 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 names after him.
*Iris (Sir Cedric Morris introductions)
*Papaver rhoeas Cedric Morris
*Sir Cedric Morris (Bare Root Rose)
*Sir Cedric Morris Hardy Geranium
*Narcissus minor 'Cedric Morris'
*Zauschneria californica cana 'Sir Cedric Morris'

Later life

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 shot himself. [ [http://www.art-newzealand.com/Issues21to30/morris.htm Cedric Morris at Benton End] ] In late 1937 Morris and Haines joined the Hadleigh Labour Party after attending a meeting addressed by Professor Catlin. 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 Morris.

In 1984 the Tate Gallery held a retrospective exhibition of Morris's work. [Richard Morphet "Cedric Morris" The Tate Gallery 1984 ISBN 0946590060]


*Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - Richard Morphet, "Morris, Sir Cedric Lockwood, ninth baronet (1889–1982)", Sept 2004,
*Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). "Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage" (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.

External links

* [http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/morris_sir_cedric.html Art Cyclopedia - selected works]
* [http://www.tate.org.uk/research/researchservices/archive/ Cedric Morris at the Tate Gallery Archive]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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