About Martin
Awards & Exhibitions
'Seeing potential'
Contact Martin
Links - groups
Links - UK Artists
Links -International
Links - USA artists
Links - blogs
Links - Rory McEwen
Review: Rory McEwen
An Angel Anyway
Site Map

The Shirley Sherwood Gallery in Kew Gardens held a retrospective exhibition of Rory McEwen's work from 11 May to 22 September 2013.


A book (hardback, paperback) is available containing a lot of the images from the exhibition and some that weren't on show too; it's great. A selection of the images from the book are available to see here. The book won Best Exhibition Catalogue in the Association for Cultural Enterprises awards in 2014 (link scroll down). A revised edition is available from 1st March 2015.


Kew have made available some prints of his work; now we can all have our very own Rory McEwen on the wall and you can buy them online. 


The official Kew press release from the exhibition is here and there's another one written nearer to the exhibition here.  Joanne Yeomans from the Library Art and Archives team wrote a blog about the exhibition. A short video made to promote the exhibition can be found hereThere is a longer version of the video which includes Rory's music and other art skills here; both films were cleverly made by Northern Town. Yes, that is me and I know combing your hair before you appear on camera is a good idea...but I was thinking about more important things like what I was going to say. 

There is a picture of the main room of the exhibition here. That giant tulip petal in oil really was a surprise in real life too.



I've had a look for all things Rory McEwen on the web; here they are...


Jessica, who used to work at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, wrote about setting the exhibition up and framing art here, contrasted the finished exhibition with a trip to a Karl Blossfeldt exhibition here, and wrote about packing up the exhibition here all on her blog Inky Leaves. Click on the pictures in the blog and they enlarge - worth it for the row of tulips. She has put an image of one of Rory's rose paintings here. It is absolutely glorious, thank you Jessica. You can see two images of prints here that were available but aren't now unfortunately.

Coral Guest has written about when she first saw Rory McEwen's work in 1974 here.

Katherine Tyrrell, who has created the blog 'Making a Mark', writes after her third trip to the exhibition "There are some pieces which absolutely take your breath away". Here she comments on a day in the life of Rory McEwen and here she lists the names of the paints  he used - all very interesting.

I thought this was fantastic...it's just someone on a trip out to Kew, blogging about the exhibition, and really enjoying himself and writing a brilliant review. Completely agree with the last line - so true.

A really neat summary from Wren M. Allen (no relation!) and interesting comparison with Margaret Mee here.

Some images of the tulip prints here.

A couple of photos of the exhibition, for those who couldn't get there, in this blog by brompton finch.

An article about the exhibition in Curtis's Botanical Magazine - you can read the first page here but you need to pay for the rest.

An article in the Telegraph about the exhibition with picture gallery.

This article in the Financial Times by Robin Lane Fox. Having read it, I wonder just what one has to do to be termed an 'artist'; perhaps it was a quote taken out of context.

An exhibition review in the Spectator

An article in the Scotsman about the Kew exhibition and interview with Christabel McEwen (Rory's daughter).

An article in Very magazine with pictures by Celia Lyttelton.

Susan Frei Nathan blogged this.

The Duchess of Cornwall visited.


His niece, Christian McEwen, has made her lovely memoir about him (see here) into a small book entitled 'Music hiding in the air' with some reproductions of his work and family photos. It is available from the Kew bookshop. If you can't get to Kew then you can order it from G. Heywood Hill Ltd, 10 Curzon St, London W1J SHH. Tel: 0207 629 0647. There's a review of it here on the ArtPlantae Today website.


Bobbi Angell wrote about Rory in volume 34 (2005) of the American Society of Botanical Artists'  Journal 'The Botanical Artist'. Back issues of the Journal may be available.

Dianne Sutherland has written about vellum which includes a quote on how Rory McEwen worked from his brother John.  

If you are wondering how much one of his paintings would cost now if you wanted to buy one.... see here and here and here and here and here. I imagine his paintings will be worth more now, after the Kew exhibition.

The Redoute paintings owned by Lord Hesketh that inspired the young Rory McEwen were sold in 2010 and can be seen in this Sotherby's catalogue starting at Lot 51 through to Lot 89.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh held his last retrospective exhibition in 1988 and there are five images from it here. They used to sell some posters and cards of his work in the shop - not sure whether they still do. This page lists library collections about him.

And here is a letter where he writes of a visit to Bhutan; it's a long letter...make yourself a hot drink/glass of wine and get yourself comfortable before you start - actually I should have mentioned that at the top of the page really, shouldn't I?


There is a Wikipedia page which mentions his music and how he influenced many other musicians. Marc Pavey has placed this clip of him singing on YouTube. There are some recordings of folk songs with his brother here at last.fm. Some of the TV programmes he made are listed on the IMDB. Some of his thoughts on Folk music and songs can be found here. Jools Holland, whose favourite painting is this, made a programme about Rory's music which was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 in 2013 but is no longer available.


Rory McEwen also made modern artworks, which were nothing to do with plants; the Tate has twoSome images of his modern work can be seen here and here

An exhibition (you need to scroll down when you get to the page) at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh of The Tweed Road by Rory including five of his rarely seen Polarised Perspex sculptures occurred in 2013.


There was an exhibition of photographs by Karl Blossfeldt, whose work inspired Rory McEwen, at the Whitechapel Gallery in London from 16 April to 14 June 2013.


Contact details for the estate of Rory McEwen (scroll down).


If you know of anything relevant that I've missed, then do let me know and I'll post it up here.