SIR CEDRIC MORRIS | STILL LIFE (SCABIOUS, CARNATIONS AND HEMEROCALLIS)
25,000 - 35,000 GBP
SIR CEDRIC MORRIS
STILL LIFE (SCABIOUS, CARNATIONS AND HEMEROCALLIS)
signed and dated -49
oil on canvas
61 by 51cm.; 24 by 20in.
The canvas is original, with very minor undulation. There are fine lines of craquelure and cracking across the right edge, towards the lower left corner, to the white vase, to the blue of the flowers, and to the right hand side of the work. There a few associated instances of lifting including to the central blue flower, to the white vase, to the flower in the lower right corner and the lower left corner, with probable more minor instances elsewhere. There are a couple of tiny flecks of paint loss in the bottom left and right corners, with possible further more minor instances elsewhere. There is surface dirt and matter to the work, as well as possible instances of studio detritus. This excepting, the work appears in good overall condition.
Inspection under Ultraviolet light reveals no obvious signs of fluorescence or retouching.
The work is held in a canvas slip, presented in a painted wooden frame.
Please telephone the department on +44 (0) 207 293 6424 if you have any questions regarding the present work.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Acquired by the late owner in the mid-1970s
Property from the Estate of Beth Chatto (1923– 2018) OBE VMH
Beth Chatto OBE VMH was one of Britain’s pre-eminent horticulturists of the 20th century, a proponent of ‘right plant right place’, author of numerous books including The Dry Garden, 1978, The Damp Garden, 1982, and Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden, 2000, a respected lecturer, winner of 10 successive gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, and founder of the Beth Chatto Gardens outside Colchester. It was through her plant expertise that Beth Chatto met Cedric Morris and, along with her husband Andrew Chatto, a plant environmentalist and farmer, became part of the set that congregated around Cedric Morris' and Arthur Lett-Haines’ home, Benton End, in Suffolk. Beth later recalled of their first meeting, ‘I remember my first impression so clearly. Cedric dressed in crumpled corduroys with a small silk scarf above his shirt was smoking a pipe, which he held with his beautiful slender hands. After tea, he showed us all round the garden. [It was…] a bewildering, mind-stretching, eye-widening canvas of colour, textures and shapes, created primarily with bulbous and herbaceous plants. Later I came to realise it was possibly the finest collection of such plants in the country, but that first afternoon there were far too many unknown plants for me to see them, let alone recognise them.’ (Beth Chatto quoted in Hugh St. Clair, A Lesson in Art & Life, The Colourful World of Cedric Morris & Arthur Lett-Haines, Pimpernel Press, London, 2019, p.150).
This first encounter would lead to a longstanding friendship, based on a mutual devotion to gardens and creativity, and over the course of this friendship, Beth and Andrew Chatto would amass the present collection of paintings by Cedric and Lett, a testament to their shared passions. ‘[It is] impossible to say what he [Cedric Morris] has meant to me. [He] influenced me in so many ways, made my life. And many many others. A great man, and a very modest man, in his own way.’ (Beth Chatto, personal diary, quoted in Catherine Horwood, Beth Chatto: A Life with Plants, Pimpernel Press, London, 2019). Led by two superb still-life flower paintings by Cedric and with an intimate portrait sketch of Cedric by Lett, the group encapsulates the strong ties between this artistic, bohemian group that existed outside the mainstream of London and yet fundamentally changed the course of the still-life genre and horticulture respectively. As Beth recalled, Cedric approached his garden as a canvas and his canvases as re-presentations of his plants, a symbiosis of creativity.