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'Lost' painting by Suffolk artist to be sold at auction

PUBLISHED: 07:30 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:09 02 October 2019

Sir Cedric Morris
  Picture: ARCHANT

Sir Cedric Morris Picture: ARCHANT

A previously unknown work by renowned Suffolk artist Sir Cedric Morris is set to be auctioned for up to £50,000.

The rediscovered 'Foxgloves' by Sir Cedric Morris, which is being sold at auction Picture: SWORDERSThe rediscovered 'Foxgloves' by Sir Cedric Morris, which is being sold at auction Picture: SWORDERS

'Foxgloves' by Sir Cedric Morris will be sold by auctioneers Sworders with an estimate of between £30,000 and £50,000.

The 1932 oil picture is being sold by the family of a friend to whom the picture was given by the artist some time in the early 1960s, and who have kept it privately ever since.

The auction takes place on October 22 at Sworders in Stansted Mountfitchet and a spokesman for Sworders said the discovery of a previously unknown painting by Sir Cedric had generated a lot of excitement on the London art market.

"He is a very significant British artist," she said.

Cedric Morris, left, and Arthur Lett-Haines Picture: TATE ARCHIVECedric Morris, left, and Arthur Lett-Haines Picture: TATE ARCHIVE

"At the Chelsea Flower Show last year two of the big London art dealers held floral exhibitions from his pictures - that is the level of kudos he commands.

"With this particular painting the dealers and collectors just did not know it existed, so it has sparked a huge amount of interest."

The vendor, who is remaining anonymous, said both her father and grandfather had known the artists and regularly visited his home at Benton End House near Hadleigh.

"Growing up, it was just one unframed painting among many hung on various walls. The name Cedric Morris meant little to us" she said.

Benton End House near Hadleigh Picture: CHRIS RAWLINGSBenton End House near Hadleigh Picture: CHRIS RAWLINGS

"After my grandfather died in 1989, the painting came to me and my brother. Though it's a small and beautiful part of our family history, we now feel it's time to pass it on to others who can also take pleasure in it."

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Part of the proceeds of the sale will go to the Benton End House and Garden Trust - a new charity that intends setting up Sir Cedric's former home as a centre for artistic and horticultural education.

Sir Cedric was also a renowned botanist - while painting and teaching he cultivated more than 90 new named varieties of iris, many of which now carry the prefix Benton.

Suffolk artist Maggie Hambling, who was a pupil of Sir Cedric Morris Picture: ALEX FAIRFULLSuffolk artist Maggie Hambling, who was a pupil of Sir Cedric Morris Picture: ALEX FAIRFULL

The spokesman said Morris's botanical pictures were renowned for their colour and detail.

"He had a great eye and the current market loves botanical pictures, which is what he is renowned for," she said.

Sir Cedric was born in Swansea in 1889 and originally studied singing at the Royal College of Music in London before the outbreak of the First World War in which he briefly served in the Army before being invalided out.

After the war he studied art and met the painter Arthur Lett-Haines in London with whom he began a life-long relationship.

Tiring of London, they moved to Suffolk in 1929 and later established the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Dedham in 1937.

Within a year they had 60 students, among them Lucian Freud and later pupils would include Maggi Hambling and Joan Warburton, but following a fire in 1939 they relocated to Benton End House.

Following World War II he helped establish Colchester Art Society and became a lecturer at the Royal College of Art in 1950.

He inherited the Morris baronetcy in 1947 through his father.

Sir Cedric continued to paint until 1975 when he gave up due to failing eyesight.

He died in 1982 and is buried in Hadleigh cemetery.

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