The Belle of Bloomsbury was a white bull terrier called Swirl, owned by Morris’ sister Nancy. Although he used a reference photograph (perhaps the only example of this practise in his work), Morris made several changes to the painting, emphasising Swirl’s status as an important figure in her own right. Her erect posture, and the title of the painting, lend the dog a stately air.
Sir Cedric Morris
Belle of Bloomsbury
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas 66.3 x 55.2 cm © The estate of Sir Cedric Morris
Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris, 9th Baronet (11 December 1889 – 8 February 1982) was a British artist, educator and horticulturalist. Born in Swansea, South Wales, Morris worked in London, Paris, Cornwall and Suffolk, where he and his partner Arthur Lett-Haines founded the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing. The school had many notable students, including Maggi Hambling and Lucian Freud. As an artist he is best known for his portraits, flower paintings and landscapes.