In the grounds of his Suffolk cottage John Morley has, for over thirty years, cultivated one of the most extraordinary gardens. Through his deep knowledge of his subject he has lovingly seeded, planted, labelled and grown an astounding variety of plants and many rare species, including auriculas, fritillaries and over three hundred varieties of snowdrop. Like his friend, the late Cedric Morris (1889–1982), and John Nash (1893–1977) these have become a natural subject matter for his paintings. Author Nicholas Usherwood wrote that: ‘An artist paints a picture first of all to make clear something to himself, only then may that clarity reveal itself to others as well.’ Meditating upon one of these textural paintings of flowers, berries and vegetables, it is not hard to sense this ‘clarity’ – the artist’s deep connection with his subject. Delicately lit, set within a Grecian-style alcove, or vibrant and blooming forth from a plant pot ‘pedestal’, each of these vegetables is elevated beyond the ‘everyday’ and transformed into revered and mystical objects. As author Ian Collins explains: ‘Morley is a painter who is true to himself and it is this integrity combined with rare technical skill which makes his paintings so beguiling and memorable.’
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