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IAN HAMILTON FINLAY

ARTIST’S BOOKS

THE SEA-BED AND OTHER STORIES. 1958.

Edinburgh: Castle Wynd Printers Ltd, 1958
22 x 14cm, 48pp. Boards and printed dust jacket. This was Finlay's first book of stories and poetry illustrated by Zeijko Kundzic - eight blue and red linocuts. As with much of Finlay's earliest work the subject matter is the sea, landscape, the weather, the communities built around that environment and the fish and animals that live alongside humans as well as the myths that arise. There is also the tale of applying for "National Assistance Money" because of the poverty that often came with the crofting/fishing lifestyle.
This copy is in exceptionally good condition with a complete uncut dustjacket.

THE DANCERS INHERIT THE PARTY. 1960. FIRST EDITION. WITH PROMOTIONAL ESSAY INSERT.

Worchester and Ventura: Migrant Press, 1960
21.5 x 18cm, 36pp. Original red on orange wrappers. First edition of this Finlay's second book of poems - traditional in format mostly and usually in Scots/Doric. This has lino-cut illustrations by Zeljko Kujundzik. Scarce true first edition.
JOINT:
A NOTE ON FINLAY'S THE DANCER'S INHERIT THE PARTY BY MICHEAL SHAYER
Worchester and Ventura: Migrant Press, Autumn 1960
30 x 21cm, 4pp mimeograph short essay on Finlay's book along with a promotional leaflet for the book. Some browning and folded to be inserted in the book else VG. Rare.

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GLASGOW BEASTS, AN A BURD. 1961.

Edinburgh: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1961 First edition (2nd edition, Feb 1962; 3rd edition, Jun 1962; 4th edition, Dec 1962) with paper cuts by John Picking and Pete McGinn, saddle-stapled wrappers in printed dust wrapper, 4.5″ x 6.75″, 32 pages. (Murray 3.3)

THE DANCERS INHERIT THE PARTY. 1962. SECOND EDITION. THREE HAND CORRECTIONS IN TEXT.

Worchester and Ventura: Migrant Press, 1960
21.5 x 18cm, 36pp. Original blue on blue wrappers. Second edition of this Finlay's second book of poems - traditional in format mostly and usually in Scots/Doric. This has lino-cut illustrations by Zeljko Kujundzik. Scarce even as a second edition. This example has three hand-corrections by Finlay in the text as well as a tipped on correction to the title poem

GLASGOW BEASTS AN A BURD. 1962. SECOND EDITION. DEDICATED BY PETE MCGINN.

n.p. : The Wild Flounder Press, 1969
11.7 x 17cm, 32pp. Card wrappers with blue on brown typographic design dust jacket. Finlay's third book of poems - as with other early Finlay poetry the language is Scots with touches of Doric. The poems all relate to animals and other creatures ("inseks" and a "fush") and there are papercuts by John Picking and Pete McGinn. This is the second edition of this book. There is a hand written ink dedication on the half title "For Paul (Robertson) Pette McGinn / 05". VG+ condition.

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GLASGOW BEASTS AN A BURD. 1962. THIRD EDITION. DEDICATED BY PETE MCGINN.

n.p. : The Wild Flounder Press, 1962
11.7 x 17cm, 32pp. Card wrappers with blue on brown typographic design dust jacket. Finlay's third book of poems - as with other early Finlay poetry the language is Scots with touches of Doric. The poems all relate to animals and other creatures ("inseks" and a "fush") and there are papercuts by John Picking and Pete McGinn. This is the third edition of this book. There is a hand written ink dedication on the half title "For Paul (Robertson) Pette McGinn / 05". VG+ condition.

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RAPEL / 10 FAUVE AND SUPREMATIST POEMS. 1963.

Dunsyre: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1963
30 x 21cm, Soft cover. First edition. Cream card folder, front panel and flap at rear printed in black, containing only 11 loose sheets printed on one side only: dedication printed in black, 'a peach an apple' printed in blue, a valentine in green, the practice in black, formal poem in three colours, carousel in two colours. Wrappers and contents in fine condition with the exception of a slight tear on the back right fold. Exceptionally rare very early Finlay visual poetry publication.
This was the first wholly conceived "concrete" poetry book by Finlay and contains some of his best known works (which were later reprinted in anthologies and other Finlay publications as well as in different mediums such as unique glass works.

CANAL STRIPE SERIES 3. 1964.

Edinburgh: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1964
15 x 20cm, 32pp. Original wrappers and typographic dustjacket. The first of a number of artist's books using the "Canal Stripe" title (there presumably were others that were not published given the first is number 3. Each of the first eleven pages have one word printed on them - the first four words are hayboat, cathedral, housemill, windstack and then followed by haymill, cathedral, housestack, windboat, and then, haystack, cathedral, houseboat. A final double page has haystack, cathedral, houseboat, windmill.
The first thing to note is the placing of the words on the page are in a continuous line much like a straight canal waterway. The one word that does not change is Cathedral - a large land based landmark - but the other three works are constructed by moving the prefixes "hay", "house" and wind" around in front of the word endings "stack", "boat" and "mill".
The word change creates new hybrid scenes - the houseboat passes the housemill and cathedral, the boat becomes a windboat in a second scene and so on. Finlay uses this trick often in poetry and concrete works - the slightest change to a letter or a word entirely changes the meaning of the text. The signifier to signified relationship is disrupted by the most minor of alterations.

CANAL STRIPE SERIES 4. 1964.

Edinburgh: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1964
17.5 x 28cm, 16pp. Original wrappers and yellow typographic dustjacket. The second of a number of artist's books using the "Canal Stripe" title - the text internally is printed near the bottom of each page. The text reads "little fields/long horizons" and "little fields long for horizons" and "horizons long for little fields". The movement of the word order changes the meaning of each phrase in turn - the first is a statement of a landscape, the second suggests that there is an emotional desire by the little fields to have horizons (presumably they are too small to be able to create a horizon) and finally the joke "horizons long (all horizons are long after all) for small fields" indicates the geographical relationship between these elements of the world. This is again a favourite Finlay method - word order altering the world view around the viewer. This was the first time this was published in a printed item.

TELEGRAMS FROM MY WINDMILL. 1964

Edinburgh: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1964
12 x 18.7cm, 36pp. Original wrappers and cream dustjacket with a design based on an old fashioned post office telegram. An artist's book of concrete poems (printed red on white) which are facsimile of typewriter designs by Finlay. One is reminded of Guillaume Apollinaire's calligrammes where Finlay has used the shape of the typed words to give additional meaning.

OCEAN STRIPE SERIES 2. 1965.

Edinburgh: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1965
173 x 10.5cm, 16pp. Original wrappers and typographic dustjacket. Regarded as a "kinetic" booklet in Murray's catalogue raisonne, the text has similarities with that found in the Canal Stripe series in that the words are printed in a single long line (reflecting a canal waterway or an object moving in one direction or the flatness of a horizon). The first page is a series of blue dashes that then can on the next page be seen overprinted on the phrase "the little sail of your name in red. That phrase is then set on its own on the next page without the dashes and then finally again in the penultimate page overprinted with blue dashes and then finally the dashes alone remain. The effect is a word picture of a boat appearing and then disappearing over the horizon. That inferred movement is why it is regarded as kinetic. VG.

OCEAN STRIPE SERIES 3. 1965. WITH INSERT “GENESIS” QUOTATION.

Edinburgh: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1965
20.3 x 12.8cm, 32pp. Original wrappers and typographic dustjacket. Three pages have the word "ark" on thin paper followed by a group of differently sized pages that are white, red, yellow and blue in turn. On the first white page the word "arc" is printed. The biblical ark that Noah built was rewarded by the christian god with a rainbow "as a covenant between him and the earth". The book (again claimed to be kinetic) is a physical manifestation of that myth - the ark is given a colourful rainbow (with wrong colours) in page form. In case one had missed the meaning of the book a 19 x 8cm, 1pp insert was added quoting Genesis 2 13 - 15 which tells of the coming of that rainbow. VG example.