Cecil Kennedy will be best remembered for his minutely detailed depictions of flowers, though he also worked as a portraitist. His greatest works are admired for their exquisite detail and artful compositions. His wife Winifred created the brilliant flower arrangements, usually in a vase from their collection of mid-eighteenth century Waterford pieces, which continually inspired his work.
Cecil Kennedy had many important patrons. Queen Mary bought his work, as did the Duke of Windsor and the Astors. Queen Mary is quoted as saying "When I see Cecil Kennedy's pictures I can smell the flowers and hear the hum of the bees." She noticed he had painted a ladybug on a flower stem. Thereafter all his paintings contained a ladybug. Lord Thompson of Fleet, a friend and patron, wrote about him and commented that "his pictures conveyed a joy of life and artistic creativity."
Kennedy's artful juxtapositions of modern exotic hybrids blooms and humble favorites like field grasses, as well as the plant species celebrated in the works of the Old Masters revealed his knowledgeability as a plantsman as well as an artist. While studying in the great national collections of the major artistic centres, London, Paris, Antwerp and Zurich, he fell under the influence of the Old Masters, from whom he derived his meticulous technique. The novelty of his all white arrangements reflected an awareness of twentieth century horticultural innovations as well such as Vita Sackville-West's "white garden." In the present work, Kennedy highlights the Romneya flower, the largest of all poppies well-known for its white petals and deep yellow stamen. They are native to southern California and northern Mexico.
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