“His botanical work predated and outlasted all others, and in it, paradoxically, he was most truly an artist of his time. For while a good many artists could work in these idioms of modernism, none could paint an auricula or an onion as he could, while possessing the consciousness of a modern artist.”
Douglas Hall - Keeper of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art 1961-1986
“His versatility (as an artist) was astonishing – at one moment he was painting on vellum a single flower or a dead leaf with a finesse that Redouté might have envied; at another he was producing abstract three-dimensional work which meant nothing to me.”
Wilfrid Blunt - Art teacher, author, artist and Curator of the Watts Gallery, Compton, Surrey
"McEwen is the greatest painter of tulips since the Dutch masters of the 17th Century"
Robin Lane Fox in FT Review of the exhibition at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew Gardens, 2015
“He was touched by God, not just with the skills as an artist, but with all skills.”
Jim Dine - American contemporory artist
"History has demonstrated many times that if an artist who is gifted with an innate sensibility to nature makes a study of past masters, and if he manages to add to this a thorough knowledge of botany, he may very well find - entirely on his own - that delicate balance between free expression and fidelity to nature that is the mark of the great botanical artist. One artist that succeeded in doing so was Rory McEwen"
Martin Rix - Author, editor, botanist, horticulturalist
"His botanical paintings, though rigorous and accurate and conforming to those stern disciplines of the botanical artist, have a kind of Zen lift-off, I thought. I lived with them and hung them on my walls and they spoke to me in a different way to other illustrative pictures. I hung them beside works by Hockney or Kitai, and Lucien Freud: they sang together."
Grey Gowrie, Chairman of Sotheby's 1985-1994 and of the Arts Council of England 1994-1998