The pictures were among four by Morris offered at Sworders’ Modern British and 20th century art auction on October 22. Foxgloves, a trademark oil of English garden flowers from 1932 was hammered down at £160,000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium).
The previous high for Morris was Flowers and Butterflies which took £140,000 (plus 20% buyer’s premium) at Henry Adams in Chichester in January.
Benton End to benefit
The vendor of the picture at Sworders had inherited it from her father, who had known Morris. She agreed to give part of the proceeds to the Benton End House and Garden Trust – a newly formed charity that plans to turn Morris’ former Suffolk home and school into a centre for artistic and horticultural education.
Benton End was home to the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing founded in 1937.
The other pictures secured by Mould at the auction were two later works: View of Turkish village near Izmir (1971) at £10,000 and A Still Life with Vases, Flowers and a Dish of Painted Eggs (1970) at £18,000.
They were both among the contents of Hill House in Sudbury, home of Tony Venison who for many years was the gardens editor of Country Life and a frequent visitor to Benton End.
Another London dealer bought the 1933 oil on canvas Drought, Oxfordshire which, against a £10,000-50,000 estimate, sold at £50,000.
Guy Schooling, chairman at Sworders, said: “This was a fantastic result and shows the prices are roaring for Morris’ flower paintings. But interest in his landscapes has also increased recently.”