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Sir Cedric Morris Florilegium

July 6November 3

Winner of the national Finnis Scott Foundation Botanical Art Award

Dr Siân Dawson inspired the idea and coordinated the illustrated catalogue of paintings by leading botanical artists to illustrate a ‘Florilegium’ of the unique award-winning irises bred by Sir Cedric Morris (1889–1982), artist, gardener and iris breeder, based at Benton End, Hadleigh, Suffolk. Morris propagated the ‘Benton End’ bearded irises between 1933–60, which are now held in the National Plant Collection cultivated by Sarah Cook, GM, horticultural expert and former head gardener at Sissinghurst, Kent.

The Sir Cedric Morris Florilegium consists of 30 botanical watercolour paintings, meticulously observed and accurately recorded of ‘known and growing today’ cultivated varieties of bearded iris, that have been painted by the country’s leading Gold Medal winners from the Royal Horticultural Society.

The Finnis Scott Foundation Botanical Art Award is the most valuable award of its kind. Dr Dawson was delighted to receive such a prestigious award, considered the highest accolade on behalf of all the artists, who so graciously donated their paintings to be retained by Gainsborough’s House and considered the finest florilegium of iris paintings worldwide. The Gainsborough’s House Trustees accepted the collection as a gift to be held in perpetuity alongside Sir Cedric Morris’ private art collection.

This exhibition is the first time the Sir Cedric Morris Florilegium complete collection has been exhibited in its entirety. It will be available with Revealing Nature: The Art of Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines at Gainsborough’s House from 6 July – 3 November 2024.

An image of The Finnis Scott Foundation logo.