Morris was an admirer of the natural world, and was especially fond of birds. He painted this picture in response to the harmful effects that some pesticides were having on the bird population in 1950s Britain. By 1958, large numbers of birds were being found in fields, as a result of eating pesticide contaminated seeds. Morris’ friends described him as deeply upset by this, and the Landscape of Shame
was painted in an effort to bring the issue to a wider audience. He apparently originally intended to title the painting ‘In Homage of…’ with direct reference to the chemical manufacturers at fault.
Sir Cedric Morris
Landscape of Shame
Original: Oil paint on canvas 75.6 x 100.2 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.