July 1978

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1978
20 x 16.4cm, printed black on cream outer folder content of a single 20 x 16.4cm offset lithograph on light blue paper.
The folder has "BOIS D'AMOUR. ('LE TALISMAN')" printed at the top and the inner sheet has "Lavender Water" printed at the bottom. On the back of the folder there is also the mention that the work is "An "Homage to Sérusier."
Paul Sérusier was an abstract French painter (who was a pioneer of abstract art and an inspiration for the avant-garde Nabis movement who Finlay honours elsewhere in his works) painted a major work known as "Le Talisman" in 1888 that showed a bridge crossing into a wood. That painting is usually regarded as the first of the Nabis works. The French title of the work is "Paysage au Bois d'Amour" - hence the title of Finlay's work here.
The words Lavender Water found on the second sheet are not only associated with an over-sweet smelling perfume much beloved of old ladies but is also the colour of the water under the bridge in the Serusier painting.
This was the second of Finlay's "colour paper" works (a term we have coined to categorise these innovative works) after his earlier L'embarquement pour l'Ile de Cychere of 1975. VG+>

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Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, n.d. (1978) 38 × 47.3cm, blue and black on white screen print showing a harbour at evening time by Gary Hincks in the style of pointillisme (perhaps even Seurat). The work is subtitled "in familiar mottle camouflage" - which is a humorous comment on the style and wartime attempts at disguising ships. VG condition.

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Firenze: Zona, n.d. (1978)
21 x 15cm, 4pp (self cover) no binding. The four sheets with calligraphy by Ron Costley read:
white & bark, black & light, bark & light, white & dark and black& white
The combinations of the words (with the basic structure taken from the last coupling "black and white") along with the title "Woods" create visual images of different woodland scenes (each, of course, will be personal to the reader but in the main bark and light may bring the outside of a Birch tree to mind for instance). Finlay uses this trick of word transposition often in works - the changes causes by minimal alterations to words and their syntax interests him greatly. He feels that small changes in letters or word-combination causes large changes to their meaning or their perceived meaning.
This was published by Maurizio Nannucci of Zona Archives, himself a concrete poet. VG+.

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Dunsyre: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1978
9.6 x 13.8cm, 2pp. Black on white card with a drawing of a German tank amongst silver birch trees by Gary Hincks.
Finlay has a number cards (and some prints) bearing images of the German Panzer force which is often regarded (if not entirely true) as the most effective of the land war weapons of the conflict. This tank pictured by Hincks is specifically a Tiger 308 of the schwere Panzer Abteilung 502 and was one of the heavy weapons to aid in the (failed) push to conquer Russia.
The Silver Birch is also a tree that is found from Scotland to the East - it does not stretch south in Europe except at much higher altitudes - thus may also be regarded as "invading" Russia.
In any case, the tank symbolises death for Finlay and when shown in beautiful landscapes is a real reminder of the painting "In Arcadia Ego" by Poussin which is meant to remind humans that they too will die someday. VG+.

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