Arthur Lett was born in 1894, the son of Charles Lett and Frances Laura Esme Lett (who afterwards married S. Sidney Haines). He was educated at St Paul's School.
In the First World War he served in the British Army.
In 1916 Lett-Haines married Gertrude Aimee Lincoln at Hailsham, but he met the painter Cedric Morris in 1918. Morris and Lett Haines fell in love and began a life-time relationship, and shortly afterwards Morris moved in with Haines and his second wife, Aimee. The trio planned to go to America, but in the event Aimee Lett-Haines left on her own, and the two men moved to Cornwall. They converted a row of cottages at Newlyn into a larger house and stayed there until the end of 1920, when they moved to Paris. Morris and Lett-Haines lived together until his death, Haines largely subordinating his own artistic career to promote that of his partner. This relationship lasted some 60 years, despite its open nature that included attachments on both sides such as Haines' affair with the artist and author Kathleen Hale.
After initially living at Newlyn, they moved to Paris in 1920, becoming part of an expatriate artistic community that included Juan Gris, Fernard Léger, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Nancy Cunard and Ernest Hemingway. They returned briefly to London in 1926, before moving in 1929 to Suffolk.
Robert Alexander Polhill Bevan; Allan Walton; Arthur Lett-Haines, circa 1920s, Given by Ronald George Blythe, 2006, NPG x128726)
Arthur Lett-Haines was a British painter and sculptor. Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris, 9th Baronet, was a British artist, art teacher and plantsman. In 1918 Lett Haines met Morris. Morris and Lett Haines fell in love and began a life-time relationship, lasted some 60 years. In 1937, Morris and Haines founded the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Dedham. The school closed when Haines died in 1978, though Morris continued to live at Benton End until his death in 1984.
Arthur Lett-Haines - Egyptian Figures
Arthur Lett-Haines, Rough Trade - 1935
Frances Hodgkins, Portrait of Arthur Lett Haines, 1927
Arthur Lett-Haines, The Kings Arms, 1947
Maggi Hambling, Lett
In 1937, Morris and Haines founded the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Dedham. When it burned down in 1939, the school was relocated to Benton End, a mansion near Hadleigh. Operating on a live-in basis that mingled artistic development with a social circle, its pupils included Lucian Freud, Bettina Shaw-Lawrence, David Kentish, Maggi Hambling, David Carr, Joan Warburton and Glyn Morgan.
The school closed when Haines died in 1978, though Morris continued to live at Benton End until his death in 1984.
A sandstone portrait sculpture exists of Lett-Haines by John Skeaping dating from 1933. This work came about after the breakup of Skeaping's marriage to Barbara Hepworth, when Skeaping joined the artists' colony at the house of Cedric Morris in Higham, Suffolk.
Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris, 9th Baronet (11 December 1889 – 8 February 1982) was a British artist, art teacher and plantsman. He was born in Swansea but worked mainly in East Anglia. As an artist he is best known for his portraits, flower paintings and landscapes. (P: Cedric Morris, by Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris, circa 1930, Purchased, 1981, NPG 5407)
Cedric Lockwood Morris was born on 11 December 1889 in Sketty, Swansea, the son of George Lockwood Morris, industrialist (ironfounder) and Wales rugby international, and his wife Wilhelmina (née Cory). He had two sisters - Muriel, who died in her teens, and Nancy (born in 1893). His mother had studied painting and was an accomplished needlewoman; on his father's side he was descended from the first baronet Morris, whose sister Margaret married Noel Desenfans and helped him and his friend, Francis Bourgeois to build up the collection now housed in the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Cedric was sent away to be educated, at St Cyprian's School, Eastbourne, and Charterhouse School in Godalming.
He failed the exams to enter the army as an officer, and at the age of 17 he set out on a steamship to Ontario, Canada, to work on a farm. After a succession of jobs, including as a dishwasher and bell boy in New York, he returned to South Wales, and then entered the Royal College of Music, London, to study singing. But he gave up singing for painting, and went to Paris, where from April 1914 he studied at the Academie Delacluse in Montparnasse before the interruption of World War I.
During World War I he joined the Artists Rifles, but before embarking for France was declared medically unfit for action in consequence of the effects of a failed operation during his childhood. As an experienced horseman, however, he was allocated to the training of remounts at Lord Rosslyn's stables at Theale, Berkshire. He worked in the company of Alfred Munnings, under Cecil Aldin. He was discharged from this when the army took over the Remounts in 1917.
NPG x128725. Cedric Morris, 1920s (©19)
Morris went to Zennor in Cornwall, where he studied plants and painted water colours. There he became friendly with the painter Frances Hodgkins, whose portrait he painted. At the time of the Armistice with Germany in November 1918 he was in London, when he met the painter Arthur Lett-Haines. Morris and Lett Haines fell in love and began a life-time relationship, and shortly afterwards Morris moved in with Haines and his second wife, Aimee. The trio planned to go to America, but in the event Aimee Lett-Haines left on her own, and the two men moved to Cornwall. They converted a row of cottages at Newlyn into a larger house and stayed there until the end of 1920, when they moved to Paris.
It was their base for the next five years, when they travelled extensively in Europe. Morris also studied at the Academies Moderne and La Grande Chaumiere. Morris had successful exhibitions in London in 1924 and 1926, and later in that year they settled back in Britain.
After staying with his sister Nancy Morris in Corfe Morris and Haines found a studio in London at Great Ormond Street to which they moved in 1927. Morris became a member of the London Artists Association and the Seven and Five Society, for which he was proposed by Winifred Nicholson and seconded by Ben Nicholson. He became especially friendly with the painter Christopher Wood, and renewed friendship with Frances Hodgkins. At the end of the 1920s Morris became involved with much commercial work designing textiles for Cresta Silks with Paul Nash and posters for Shell and B. P..
Morris chose the country life to pursue his passion for horticulture. Early in 1929 Morris and his companion took the lease of Pound Farm, Higham, Suffolk, and in February 1930 they gave up the London studio.
In 1932 the owner of Pound Farm, who was for a while a student, died and left it to Morris. Morris had resigned from the Seven and Five Society in 1930 and he resigned from the London Artist's Association in 1933. There were many visitors at Pound Farm, including Frances Hodgkins, Barbara Hepworth and John Skeaping. Joan Warburton who was a student described Pound Farm as a paradise, mainly because of the spectacular gardens which Morris developed. She was also impressed by their spectacular parties.
Morris often went painting in his native South Wales, and in 1935 at the time of the Depression was moved by the plight of the people of South Wales Valleys. He initiated a major touring exhibition of Welsh art in 1935, and was a regular teacher at Mary Horsfall's Art's centre at Merthyr Tydfil. In 1935 he painted two large flower murals on board the liner Queen Mary. In late 1937 Morris and Haines joined the Hadleigh Labour Party after attending a meeting addressed by Professor Catlin.
Morris and Lett-Haines opened the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Dedham in April 1937. Within a year they had 60 students. Lucian Freud was one of his most noted students.
In 1939 the building at Dedham was destroyed by fire (with several of Morris's paintings also destroyed) to the conspicuous enjoyment of Alfred Munnings. By the end of the year the school was reestablished at Benton End. Benton End was a rambling 'Suffolk Pink' farmhouse on the outskirts of Hadleigh, set in three or 4 acres (16,000 m2) of orchard. In addition to running the school, Morris indulged his passion for plants. He grew about 1000 new Iris seedlings each year and opened the house to display his collection, and used to walk the fields and hedgerows searching for softer colour variants of poppies. Morris's work as a horticulturalist resulted in a number of plants being names after him.
Morris was intolerant of cruelty to animals and at Benton End had a running feud with a local gamekeeper who shot cats and dogs - until the latter tripped over his shotgun and shot himself.
In 1947 the Morris baronetcy came to his father from a distant cousin three months before his death and Cedric Morris succeeded his father in the same year to become the 9th Baronet Morris. He became a lecturer at the Royal College of Art in 1950.
From about 1975 Morris virtually gave up painting because of failing eyesight.
He died on 8 February 1982. His former pupil, Maggi Hambling visited him on the day before his death and afterwards drew a portrait of him. In 1984 the Tate Gallery held a retrospective exhibition of Morris's work.
His grave in Hadleigh cemetery is marked by a Welsh slate headstone cut by Donald Simpson.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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