The artist-plantsman Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris (1889–1982) grew up in Sketty, South Wales. He spent his younger years intermittently abroad, regularly travelling across Europe and North Africa, whilst renting studios in Cornwall, Paris and London and becoming a conspicuous figure in the art world. In the 1930s, Cedric and his partner, the artist Arthur Lett-Haines (‘Lett’), made South Suffolk their permanent base, moving to Pound Farm in Higham, known as The Pound.
It was not far from Sudbury and Gainsborough’s House that Cedric and Lett founded the bohemian East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing (1937–78).
The school started life in Dedham, but following a devastating fire in 1939, moved to the large farmhouse of Benton End in Hadleigh, where Cedric and Lett also lived. More of an artistic community than a school, the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing encouraged individuality and painting en plein air. Two of its most notable alumni are Lucian Freud (1922–2011) and Maggi Hambling (b. 1945).
Throughout his career Cedric painted portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and flower and animal studies in equal measure. He painted in a very direct and idiosyncratic way, using bold impasto colour. Today he is perhaps best known for his flower paintings, particularly of irises. Cedric was principally a painter, but also an avid and experimental plantsman. He was a noted iris breeder and each winter would travel to places such as Portugal and Turkey to paint and find plant species that he would then establish in the garden at Benton End.