Private collection, United Kingdom
Cecil Kennedy was born on the 4th of February 1905 in Leyton, London to Robert Kennedy (1858-1946) and Elizabeth Bertha Fuller (1863 -1936). Cecil Kennedy was the youngest of thirteen children and one of his older brothers was the children’s book illustrator Albert Ernest Kennedy (1883–1963). Cecil Kennedy’s other siblings included Thomas Kennedy (1900-1981), Edith Jessie Kennedy (1896-1985), Queenie Berth Kennedy (1892-1989), Bertie Claude Kennedy (1888-1960), Leonard Kennedy (1885- unknown), Sidney Herbert Kennedy (1902-1965), Edwin Kennedy (1900-1901), Charles Kennedy (1893-1918), Belinda Dorothy Kennedy (1887-1982), Oscar Gordon Kennedy (1884-1968) and Robert Harley Kennedy (1881-1974).
The Kennedy family were mostly artists, and his grandfather is said to have painted with the French Barbizon painter Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875). Cecil Kennedy studied painting mostly from his father, but he also had some formal training as well. Initially, he began by painting landscapes and some portraits. However, following a period of war time stationing in Antwerp, Cecil was able to observe paintings by great artists such as Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Oseas Beeert and Peter Paul Rubens but to name a few and this led him to change his style, technique and subject matter.
In 1933, Cecil Kennedy married Winifred Aves and they had a son Robert Kennedy. Winifred assisted her husband by creating many of the floral arrangements which he painted with so much exquisite detail and would later define his career and put his name amongst the list of England’s finest flower painters together with Harold Clayton, Bennett Oates and Gerald Cooper.
During his life time, Cecil Kennedy showed his paintings at the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Academy and other prominent galleries. In 1956 he was awarded a silver medal at the Paris Salon and this was followed by a gold medal in 1970.
Later in life his eyesight faded and by the late 1980’s he had stopped painting. Cecil Kennedy is considered one of Britain’s great flower painters and his wonderful pictures are in collections the world over.