The landscape, Suffolk Landscape with Welsh Mountains Beyond, was found under a picture painted by a pub sign painter and a friend of Lucian Freud (1922-2011). The painting was discovered in the cellar of artist Elizabeth Bodman, who died in 2015, and was assumed to be painted by her husband and fellow artist Tom Wright, a wartime acquaintance of Freud.
Wright, an apprentice plasterer and sign painter in Hadleigh, Suffolk, was hanging a pub sign at The Shoulder of Mutton, in which the young Freud was drinking just before the Second World War. Freud befriended him and persuaded him to join him at The East Anglian School of Painting & Drawing. The school’s founder, Sir Cedric Morris, waived Wright’s fees in lieu of his handyman skills.
Canvases were in short supply during the war and it likely students re-used supplies discarded by other students. It is also believed another of Freud’s work could be underneath this landscape.
Also found in the cellar of Elizabeth Wright née Bodman and being sold by her relatives was a Sir Cedric Morris (1889-1982) landscape.
Best known for his flower paintings, the self-taught Welsh artist and horticulturalist also painted a large number of landscapes.
This particular work, A Suffolk Landscape, Autumn, dates from 1929, the year Morris and partner Arthur Lett-Haines moved to the country and settled in Pound Farm in Dedham, Suffolk – the location where they later opened The East Anglian School of Painting & Drawing. By 1937 the school had 60 students.
A Suffolk Landscape, Autumn, sold for a mid-estimate £24,000 at the same Sworders Modern British Art auction on July 11 in Stansted Mountfitchet.
Cedric Morris is celebrated with two exhibitions this year. Dealer Philip Mould’s exhibition, Morris: Beyond the Garden Wall An Exhibition of the Travel Paintings of Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris, focuses on his landscape works and runs until July 22. A non-selling show at the Garden Museum in London called Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman also runs until July 22.
Morris’ pictures, particularly his flower paintings, have risen in value in recent years and the auction record was set in April 2017 at Chichester’s Henry Adams saleroom. It sold a still-life oil on canvas called Wild Flowers at £130,000.
Buyer’s premium at Sworders including VAT is 27.6%.