‘Lost’ painting sets new record at auction

PUBLISHED: 16:29 22 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:56 22 October 2019

Cedric Morris  Picture: ARCHANT

Cedric Morris Picture: ARCHANT


A previously unknown work by renowned Suffolk artist Sir Cedric Morris has set a new record at auction.

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, an oil on canvas, went under the hammer for £160,000, the highest ever amount for one of his works.

The picture was sold today at Sworders in Stansted Mountfichet to an unnamed London dealer.

A spokesman for Sworders said: "We were pretty sure it would make more than the estimate but we were absolutely delighted at the final sale figure."

The 1932 picture was sold by the family of a friend of Sir Cedric.

Bentin End House at Hadleigh  Picture: CHRIS RAWLINGSBentin End House at Hadleigh Picture: CHRIS RAWLINGS

He gave it to his friend some time in the early 1960s and whose children had kept it privately ever since.

The Sworders spokesman said this had made it highly desirable.

"Anything with a flowers theme is very popular in today's market, but added to that is it was unseen, was completely fresh and in lovely condition," she said.

"The market was very excited by it, these sort of paintings don't come up for sale very often."

The vendor is remaining anonymous but her father and grandfather were regular visitors to Sir Cedric's home at Benton End House near Hadleigh.

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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.

The buyer of the Foxgloves painting also purchased two more Cedric Morris oils; View of Turkish village near Izmir, from 1971 sold for £10,000, and A Still Life with Vases, Flowers and a Dish of Painted Eggs, from 1970 for £18,000.

Both paintings were consigned to sale by Tony Venison, for many years the Gardens Editor of Country Life and himself a frequent visitor to Benton End.

Another leading London dealer went to £50,000 to secure an oil titled Drought Oxfordshire, 1933. This painting was a gift from the artist to the present owner.

Sir Cedric was also a renowned botanist - while painting and teaching he cultivated more than 90 new named varieties of iris, many of them named after him.

He was born in Swansea in 1889 and originally studied singing at the Royal College of Music in London.

After the First World War, in which he briefly served in the Army before being invalided out, he later studied art and met the painter Arthur Lett-Haines in London with whom he began a life-long relationship.

They moved to Suffolk in 1929 and established the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Dedham in 1937.

Within a year they had 60 students, among them Lucian Freud, but following a fire in 1939 they relocated to Benton End House.

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

Sir Cedric continued to paint until 1975. He died in 1982 and is buried in Hadleigh cemetery.

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