Cecil Kennedy1905 - 1997
Meg RosesStock code: C3905
Oil on Canvas
24 x 20 ins / 61 x 50.8
Provenance: The Fine Art Society, July 1968
Price category: F: £30,000 - £50,000
During the early 1930's Cecil Kennedy married Winifred Aves and she was to become a major influence and inspiration to him. For sixty-four years they worked together as a creative team; she was very skilled at creating the beautiful flower arrangements that Kennedy painted and over the years the couple collected many mid-eighteenth century Waterford vases which continually featured in his work. In the Second World War Kennedy was called up and he fought in the Eighth Army in Europe. During the winter of 1944 Kennedy was based in Antwerp and it was here that he familiarized himself with the Dutch and Flemish Old Master flower paintings at first hand. He befriended Flemish painters and this interaction brought about a definite change in Kennedy's painting style and technique.
From the 1950's until the 1970's Kennedy exhibited regularly at the Fine Art Society, who were keen advocates of his work. He was awarded a silver medal at the Paris Salon in 1956 and a gold medal in 1970. The artist had many important patrons during his life including the Duke of Windsor and the Astors. Queen Mary is quoted as saying "When I see Cecil Kennedy's pictures I can smell the flowers and hear the hum of the bees". It was she 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 Thomson 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. 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.