The most sought after piece was ‘Spanish basket with vegetables,’ signed and dated 1971. Estimated to sell between £20-30,000, this iconic Morris still-life oil painting eventually fetched £79,000 to a telephone bidder who also purchased another of his works.
"The Twisted Hazel" which was signed and dated 1946 also garnered high interest with a final sale price of £67,000.
Morris was well-known for growing over 1,000 iris seedlings each year and created exquisite paintings based on his gardens. His Iris paintings are collectible, yet many are readily available on the market. ‘Irises’ on offer at the auction, which was painted in 1971, a few years before he had to give up painting due to deteriorating eyesight, sold for £44,000.
The Welsh painter formed the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in 1937. His works depicting fauna, landscapes and still life have been gaining in popularity in recent years, with one of his ‘lost’ works selling for a record-breaking £160,000 in October.
The oil paintings were all purchased either directly from the artist or through the Ipswich gallery that represented him, The Ixion Society, by one of his students, Mary Cookson. She studied under Morris at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing.
“It was gratifying to handle a fresh-to-the-market collection that nobody had been able to get their teeth into before. There are certain artists like Cedric Morris that are going up and up. Nobody knows where prices will stop,” said auctioneer Fred Wyrley-Birch.
A number of other interesting works from artists who studied with Morris fetched high hammers as well. A bold watercolour of a macaw by Morris’ partner Arthur Lett-Haines (1894-1978) achieved £3,800.
Four paintings from one of Morris’ very first students at the East Anglian School of Drawing and Painting, student Lucy Harwood (1893-1972) far surpassed their expected value, selling for £10,000.
“Her works have been bubbling away making hundreds not thousands at auction,” said Wyrley-Birch, who was surprised to see them do so well. “This East Anglian collection has shined a light on her work and how good it can be.”
An auction record for a single Harwood painting, "Ships and Men at the Waterfront", signed, inscribed and dated 1939, was set with a final hammer price of £3,000.
If you possess a piece of work by Morris or other notable artists, now could be the time to sell at auction. Contact our valuations team on 0191 430 3000 to arrange an appointment at our Newcastle auction rooms or fill in the details in our online valuation form to receive a free pre-sale estimate.