Rory McEwen – A painting in the White House

In the first two months of 1963 there was a brief interchange of letters between Rory McEwen and the Secretary Hubert Calvert

Letter from Rory McEwen 16 January 1963
Letter from Rory McEwen
16 January 1963

16th January 1963
H. V. Calvert, Es.,
7 School Crescent,

Dear Mr. Calvert,
I returned recently from New York, where the exhibition of my flower paintings has just closed. I am happy to say that it was successful, nearly selling out on the opening day. The reason I am writing to you is that two of the pictures were bought by an anonymous donor and given in perpetuity to the White House in Washington. One of these pictures was a painting of Julia Farnese and the Old Dutch Bizarre that you so kindly sent me last summer. The name of your Society is written on the picture, and I had the good fortune to meet the President’s wife, Mrs Kennedy and told her all about the tulips, in which she was very interested. So long as the White House stands, the Wakefield Tulip Society’s flowers and the name of the Society will be hanging on the wall there! I am having another exhibition in Paris at the end of this year and would very much like to repeat the arrangement we had in 1962;

H. V. Calvert, Esq.   16th January, 1963
could you possibly put it to the committee for me?
Yours sincerely
Rory McEwen


Letter to Rory McEwen 20 January 1963
Letter to Rory McEwen
20 January 1963

Rory McEwen Esq.
9 Tregunter Road,
London S.W.10
20th January 1963

Dear Mr. McEwen,
Many thanks for your letter. I am very pleased to hear you had a successful exhibition of your flower paintings in New York. We were thrilled to hear that your painting of Julia Farnese & the Old Dutch Bizarre will hang in the White House & thank you for making it possible. I enclose a photograph I intended to let you have some time ago of Julia Farnese & Juliette (sic) in bud showing the leaf characteristics which I hope may be of some use.
I hope to call a meeting of the Society in a few weeks & will put your letter before them. I am sure they will agree to let you have some tulips when the time comes.
Wishing you every success at Paris.
Yours sincerely
H. V. Calvert

Letter to Rory McEwen 23 February 1963
Letter to Rory McEwen
23 February 1963

21st February 1963
Dear Mr McEwen
Our Members were highly delighted when I read your letter at our Annual General Meeting last Monday & are trying to get the news published in our local press. It was agreed unanimously to send you more tulips to paint after the show some time in May. So I will write then and let you know when to expect them. I would very much like to see the tulip at the White House. I wonder if you would send me a sketch so that we may have an idea how they look. In view of your keen interest in our Society & its aims, our members would like you to become a patron. We do not stipulate any fixed sum, but any donation would be gratefully received.
Yours faithfully
H. V. Calvert

Letter from Rory McEwen 27 February 1963
Letter from Rory McEwen
27 February 1963

Feb 27th
Dear Mr Calvert,
Thank you for your letter. I shall be honoured to be a patron of the Society and enclose £5 as a donation which I hope will be considered a suitable sum.
I will send you a photo of the White House painting when I can get a copy from the gallery in New York – they have photographs of all the paintings in the exhibition I think.
Yours sincerely
Rory McEwen

Despite an in interchange of correspondence with the White House, the current whereabouts of this painting is not known.

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