Signed. Ex R.A. 1954 #155
Oil on Canvas
The artist, Cecil Kennedy, was born in Leyton on 4th February, 1905. Kennedy studied art in London and began exhibiting his work from an early age. Before he was 24 he had shown at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Hibernian Academy and he then went on to exhibit regularly at the Royal Academy and in the provinces.
During the early 1930s Cecil Kennedy married Winifred Aves who was very skilled at creating the beautiful flower arrangements that Kennedy painted. Over the years the couple collected many mid-eighteenth century Waterford vases which continually featured in his work. During WW2 Kennedy spent time in Antwerp and it was here that he familiarised himself with the Dutch and Flemish Old Master flower paintings which influenced his painting style and technique.
From the 1950s until the 1970s Kennedy exhibited regularly at the Fine Art Society. The artist had many important patrons during his life including the Duke of Windsor, the Astors and Queen Mary who noticed a ladybird that Kennedy had painted on the stem of a flower and Kennedy always incorporated a ladybird into his paintings thereafter. Lord Thompson was also a great admirer of Kennedy’s work. Cecil Kennedy is widely regarded as the finest British painter of flowers of the 20th century.
Cecil Kennedy is widely regarded as the finest British painter of flowers of the 20th Century. In his work he often juxtaposes modern exotic hybrid blooms with traditional English flowers and grasses as well as plant species celebrated in the work of the Old Masters. He knew much about flowers and his use of all white flower arrangements reflected his awareness of 20th Century horticultural trends such as Vita Sackville-West's White Garden at Sissinghurst. His work is celebrated for its exquisite detail and artful composition and his paintings can be found in Royal, Corporate and Private collections throughout the world