One of the most important twentieth century painters of flowers, from 1937-1940 Cedric Morris was based at Dedham in Essex, where he founded the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing (with his life-time companion Arthur Lett-Haines). Born in Swansea, Morris was the only son of the iron-founder later to become 8th Baronet Lockwood. Educated at Charterhouse he travelled first to Canada before enrolling at the Royal College of Music (London) and subsequently the Delacluse in Paris. Discharged from army service in 1916 on ill-health he retired to the Cornish Art Centre of Newlyn and despite extensive travel in the following years it may have been the Cornish centre that inspired him to set up the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Dedham (Essex), and subsequently at Benton End, Suffolk. His paintings include gardens and landscapes of Essex and Suffolk, as well as still life depictions of plants, fruit and flowers. Morris was a lifelong plantsman and the gardens at Benton End, and possibly those at Dedham, were planted by Morris. Beth Chatto commented that the Suffolk garden contained: ‘the most fascinating and comprehensive collection of worthwhile and unusual bulbs’. Over the years the gardens, and in particular his iris breeding and collections of rare plants, took more of his time and his reputation as an artist gradually diminished, although his art is now being recognised again. Several of his works were included in the (2004) Tate Exhibition Art of the Garden, and he has been the subject (in 2018) of a retrospective at The Garden Museum and at the Philip Mould Gallery.
Taken from: Twigs Way, Ed., Rooted in Essex (Essex Garden Trust, 2006).