Sir Cedric Morris, Bt

Lucian Freud


Not on display

Sir Cedric Morris, Bt 1889–1982
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 730 × 603 mm
frame: 865 × 740 × 88 mm
Purchased 1981

Display caption

Cedric Morris was fifty-two when he painted this portrait of his nineteen–year–old student, Lucian Freud. In 1939, Freud enrolled at the art school that Morris had founded with Arthur Lett Haines two years earlier. Morris later wrote of him ‘I have always admired his paintings and everything about him .’
The intense scrutiny with which Morris has painted Freud is typical of his portraits. This approach would later become fundamental to the work of his former pupil.

Gallery label, April 2018

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Catalogue entry

T03231 LUCIAN FREUD 1940

Inscribed ‘CEDRIC MORRIS -37’ bottom left, and ‘LUCIAN FREUD/-41/C.M.’ on reverse
Oil on canvas, 28 3/4 × 23 3/8 (73 × 60.2)
Purchased from Sir Peter Wakefield (Gytha Trust) 1981

Prov: Arthur Lett-Haines by 1968; the artist; Sir Peter Wakefield
Exh: Colchester Art Society's Autumn Exhibition, Colchester Castle, October 1948 (39); Pictures in a Home, in house now called Castle House but then ‘Laugharne Castle’ (which it adjoins), Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, August–September 1954 (no catalogue); Paintings by Cedric Morris, The Minories, Colchester, October 1959 (21), dated ‘c.1945’; Cedric Morris Retrospective, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, June–July 1968 (115), dated 1943; Sir Cedric Morris Portraits 1919–1974, The Minories, Colchester, October–November 1974 (9), dated 1941; Paintings by Sir Cedric Morris, Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery, November–December 1978 (20), dated 1941; Cedric Morris, Tate Gallery, March–May 1984 (69, colour) and tour to Barnard Castle, Cardiff and Colchester

A portrait of the well-known painter, who was born in 1922. Cedric Morris and Lett Haines founded the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Dedham, Essex in 1937. In a text dated 1981 published in the catalogue of Morris's retrospective exhibition at Blond Fine Art, April–May 1981, Lucian Freud wrote: ‘When I was sixteen I went as a student to Cedric Morris's art school at Dedham. Three months after my arrival I accidentally burnt it. Cedric let me work at his house until the new school was ready. Cedric taught me to paint and more important to keep at it. He did not say much, but let me watch him at work. I have always admired his paintings and everything about him...’.

The date ‘-37’ inscribed by the artist on the front of this picture must be an error. Lucian Freud confirms that he and Morris did not meet till he became a student at Dedham in 1939. Moreover this portrait was painted at Benton End, Hadleigh, Suffolk, to which the school did not move till 1940. Lucian Freud is sure that 1941, the other date inscribed by the artist, is too late. Indeed his own portrait of Morris (oil on canvas, 12 × 10 in., private collection) is inscribed on the reverse ‘LUCIAN/ FREUD/JULY 1940’. It is reproduced in Lawrence Gowing, Lucian Freud, 1982, as is an oil self-portrait of Freud of similar size, there dated 1939.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984

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