IAN HAMILTON FINLAY

ARTIST’S POSTCARDS

STRATHCLYDE REGION MADE WAR ON LITTLE SPARTA. STRATHCLYDE REGION IS NO MORE. 1996.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1996
10.2 x 14.6cm, 2pp artist's card. The card gloats at the demise (due to local government reorganisation) of his enemy Strathclyde Region by altering a phrase from the French revolution "Lyons made war on Liberty/Lyons is no more" which refers to the revolt against Paris that was put down by violent force. VG+.

AN UNINVITING GARDEN. 1996. HAND ADDRESSED BY FINLAY.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1996
9.9 x 8.2cm, 2pp. Two paintings of the same village are reproduced, the first is labelled "an uninviting garden" despite being perfectly pleasant. The second photo-manipulated version of the same painting but elements have been taken away (flowers on the tree and in the grass and bushes) and other elements added (a pirate like figure, shops, a flock of birds on the grass, a carousing group of people in a coach) underneath this less appealing scene is the text "The same garden, improved by Strathclyde Region with the support of the Scottish Art Council".
Another attack on his enemies by Finlay.
This example of the card is hand addressed by Finlay to Janet Boulton. VG+.

ELEMENTS OF MINIATURISATION. 1996.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1996
10 x 14.5cm, 1pp, full colour artist's card with a photograph of Little Sparta where garden gnomes (which are not usually found in Finlay's garden) are next to a gravestone sculpture that calls to "Bring back the birch". The slogan "Bring back the birch" was a right-wing law and order slogan now not so often heard demanding the return of corporal punishment (whipping using a birch branch) but also is a call by Finlay to re-establish the birch tree in Scotland. An usually humorous card. This example is hand addressed to Janet Boulton and posted with franks and stamps. VG+.

21 CENTIMETRES. 1996.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1996
10 x 14.2cm, 1pp, artist's card with quotation from Bernard Lassus in Between Landscape Architecture and Land Art which is deliberately chosen to make Lassus seem stupid - "21 centimetres is 21 centimetres for me and not 22 centimetres". Finlay appends sarcastically "Remarkable. Who is this genius?". Lassus and Finlay had been friends (Lassus had written forewords for some of Finlay's catalogues) and this seems to mark a falling out (we at this point do not know what over). VG+.

AFTER THEOCRITUS. 1996.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1996 11.5 x 14cm, 4pp. Artist's card with a drawing of fishing creels by Kathleen Lindsey on the front an internally a poem by Finlay based on Theocritus's Idyll XX1, lines 6 - 13. The poem describes two old fishermen asleep next to their fishing gear and notes their blanket is "a gansey stiched (it seemed) from net". Gansey is a style of knitting that was used primarily by fishermen with a very large and loose stitch. VG+.

CONVINCED. 1996.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1996
10.7 x 15.4cm, 1pp, artist's card with quotation from Bernard Lassus from Between Landscape Architecture and Land Art which is deliberately chosen to make Lassus seem egotistic - "In the United States... there are people who are convinced that I have contributed completely new aspects to landscape design." Lassus was often compare to Finlay in discussions about gardens and previously both collaborated and apparently were friendly and this apparent falling out between the two can only have been increased by the three attack cards that Finlay published in this year. VG+.

A SEYCHELLES STRADIVARIOUS. 1996.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1996
9 x 8cm, 4pp, artist's card with a reproduced painting by Janet Boulton of a model boat by Raymond Houareau, Finlay calls this a "Seychelles Stradivarious" alluding to the quality of the work done and the colour of the wood which reminds one of the body of an ancient violin. VG+.

PICABIA SERIES. ANDRE LE NOTRE LASSOES BERNARD LASSUS! 1996.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1996
7 x 17.5cm, 4pp, artist's card which opens up to 7 x 35cm, 1pp. A text printed reverse blue on white reads "Andre Le Notre Lassoes Bernard Lassus!" André Le Nôtre was a French landscape architect and principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France and here Finlay suggests he dwarfs the reputation of his newly found enemy Lassus!. One of the "Picabia Series" and the last of three cards attacking Finlay's former colleague Bernard Lassus. VG+.

HOMAGE TO WALTER REEKIE’S RING NETTERS. 1996.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1996
10.3 x 16cm, 2pp, artist's card with the names and numbers of various boats involved in ring netting in the shape of the Olympic's symbol. This year was the Olympics and as in 1992 Finlay created this card which honours both the games and the fishing fleet builders from Siminins. VG+.

HARVESTER. 1996.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1996
17.4 x 11.3cm, 2pp, artist's card with a drawing by Gary Hincks of a wooden old fashioned fish box (where fish are packed in ice to be sold at market) and the name HARVESTER of the fishing boat that caught the fish. This card reproduces an image made for the cinderella stamps Finlay published for an exhibition and edition at time when UK faced a change in marItime law and the Euro was mooted as the universal European currency (eventually the UK did not join the monetary union despite its advantages for trade). The companion card GLEANER was published at the same time. This stamp was (theoretically) sold for 35p and therefore emphasising its British heritage unlike the companion card which was sold for 1 Euro. Finlay also did a unique work based on these boat names and registration numbers as well as the stamps. The port letters PD here stands for PETERHEAD. VG+.

GLEANER. 1996.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1996
17.4 x 11.3cm, 2pp, artist's card with a drawing by Gary Hincks of a modern plastic fish box (where fish are packed in ice to be sold at market) and the name GLEAMER of the fishing boat that caught the fish. This card reproduces an image made for the cinderella stamps Finlay published for an exhibition and edition at time when UK faced a change in marItime law and the Euro was mooted as the universal European currency (eventually the UK did not join the monetary union despite its advantages for trade).
The companion card HARVESTER was published at the same time (see previous entry).
Finlay did a unique work based on these boat names and registration numbers as well as the stamps. The port letters PD here stands for PETERHEAD. This card shows a stamp that is to be sold for 1 Euro (the earlier one was for 35p) which reflects the modernity of the box. One suspects Finlay prefers the older wooden version of the boxes and perhaps even dislikes the idea of the innovation of the Euro. VG+.

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