Volume 16 - June 2018 (2MB pdf) of the Occasional Papers published by the RHS Lindley Library is all about Botanical Art. The papers are all written as a result of original research and will interest many botanical artists and botanical art collectors and fans who have a particular interest in botanical art history.
The contents of this Volume are detailed below - and I've been sitting on the story behind my Paper for well over a year!
Volume 16 focuses on Botanical Art and garden paintings and features papers about
If you want to know more about the contents of the article, I recommend that you read the article for yourself by clicking the link above and downloading Volume 16. It will provide all the answers as to how I came to be asked about a painting reputed to be by Rory McEwen, via an authentication process which assumed nothing and involved a few months of chasing facts and a very illusive paper trail. I hasten to add there was a lot more to the story than is summarised in this Paper. Skills in audit and inspection acquired during the course of professional career also proved very useful when it came to authenticating a painting by Rory McEwen that nobody knew existed!
While neither the owner nor the purchaser of the painting, I have to say it was very exciting to play both detective and a ‘midwife’ intermediary role in the ‘birth’ of a new McEwen painting.
The painting in question is now owned by the Heritage Art Collection (aka 'Lindley Collection') of the Royal Horticultural Society and is kept in the collection at the Lindley Library at Vincent Square.
Below is my photo of it the day it arrived at the Lindley Library and into the care of Charlotte Brooks who is the RHS Art Curator and Sarah McDonald, the Heritage Collections Manager who were handling the acquisition of the painting by the RHS. I'd like to thank both these ladies for their past contributions to the story behind my Paper. Also thanks to Claire Clough, the Rare Books Librarian, who organises the publication of the Occasional Papers for her guidance and editing of my Paper for publication.
Charlotte Brooks is also the author and co-author of three other Papers in Volume 16 of the Lindley Library Occasional Papers. Her Papers, which I highly recommend, also contain some wonderful images of other artworks in the Lindley Collection.
Some of you may come across Charlotte next week at the Botanical Art Seminar on the 12th July at the RHS Botanical Art Show.
I'd also like to extend my appreciation and thanks to Rory McEwen's daughter Samantha McEwen, who was incredibly helpful to the process of identifying the origins of the painting. After the acquisition, she also subsequently confirmed a very curious but little known fact that Rory McEwen is a direct descendent of John Lindley. (see below). This didn't make it into my Paper but is recorded on my About Rory McEwen page on this website and is also worth recording here.
It feels very appropriate that a painting by Rory McEwen is now part of the Lindley Collection - and I'm very appreciative of the opportunity I was given to be part of that process.
Rory McEwen's lineage indicates he is descended from John Lindley, the botanist whose name is memorialised in the RHS Lindley Hall and the RHS Lindley Library. Links in the names below are to The Peerage online site.
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