Lesson in Art and Life



Publication Date: June 27, 2019

ISBN: 9781910258361

Binding: Hardback

Availability: 10-15 Days

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Interest in mid-20th century British artists and the world they inhabited is growing internationally--prices are rising and exhibitions proliferate. This first-ever biography focuses on the couple at the centre of the mid-century movement: Cedric Morris (1889-1982) and Arthur Lett Haines (1894-1978). Morris was a celebrated artist, teacher and plant breeder and his partner of 50 years, Arthur Lett Haines, known as Lett, was an artist, sculptor, cook and teacher. Partners in love, they were at the heart of the avant-garde Parisian scene partying with Fernand Leger, Marcel Duchamp, Jean Cocteau and Man Ray. Returning to London in the 1930s, admirers and friends included D.H Lawrence, the Sitwells, Wyndham Lewis, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore and Ivon Hitchens. Morris was a notable colourist and Lett was hailed as Britain's first surrealist. Morris and Lett left London to start the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Suffolk, which Lucian Freud attended along with Maggi Hambling. Francis Bacon and cookery writer Elizabeth David were regular visitors to the art school. The atmosphere there was described as robust and coarse, exquisite and sensitive all at once, also faintly dangerous. For those wanting to escape their stuffy and restrictive background it was heaven. The conversation was sometimes bawdy and bitchy but never boring. Cedric Morris is known as much for his gardening as his painting. He won countless prizes for plants he bred and many bear his name today. He was a huge influence on Beth Chatto and many others. A Lesson in Art and Life is a long overdue biography of a couple who were hugely influential across the spheres of art, gardening and cookery. Morris and Lett encouraged and enabled people of all incomes and classes to pursue their dreams of becoming artists and gardeners.