IAN HAMILTON FINLAY

ARTIST’S POSTCARDS

AFTER SIMON CUTTS, AFTER SAMUEL PALMER. 1999.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1999
10.5 x 7cm, 4pp, black on brown artist's card with a poem from Finlay which is based on a Simon Cutts variation on an original by Samuel Palmer the landscape painter and poet:
loosing
the sheets

open-
ing the
hold

fold-
ing the
last

sail

As discussed elsewhere in these cataloguings, the folding of the sail is related both to maintenance of the boats but also the burial of sailors. VG+.

THE GODS WENT HOME…. 1999.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1999
9.6 x 14cm, 1pp, black on white artist's card.

The gods went home, and everything beautiful,/everything lofty they took with them, all colours, all life's tones.

A quotation from Schiller written on 13 July 1998. Published in Autumn this card shows regret for the lack of colour as the fall approaches (if we ignore the colours of leaves). VG+.

PLANKS WHICH… 1999.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1999
14.8 x 6cm, 1pp, black on blue artist's card. There are two translations from the Greek:

planks which.
were once
pines of Ida
from Aeneid Book X

and

(jacinta, Antusa)
hunters
of deep sea prey
From Homer's Epigrams XVII
Fishing boats and fishermen. VG+.

DECOMMISSIONED FISHING BOATS. 1999.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1999
10.5 x 18.9cm, 4pp card printed black on white with a drawing of Gary Hincks of broken and rotting boat. A text inside of the card reads:

Decommisioned Fishing Boats
new Baedeker Blitz
Finlay notes that under EU regulations a fisherman can receive financial compensaiton for decommissioning - destroying - his boat and compares this to the "Baedeker Blitz" where the Luftwaffe mounted revenge raids on English Cathedral towns. VG+.

EAST COAST GAFF SLOOP. 1999.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1999
8.8 x 12cm, 1pp, black on blue artist's card. The one word poem is:

East Coast Gaff Sloop
scratchbuilt

and a description of the painter Graham Rich who "often applies his paint with a matchstick. Or he scrapes away with a sharp point, a paintt already present on the found object." from Thomas A. Clark and then:
"Scratchbuilt: a model completed from other than a commercial kit". VG+.

HENRY VAUGHAN. 1999.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1999
14.4 x 10cm, 2pp, black on white artist's card. The drawing by Gary Hincks is of a memorial "grave" stone for Henry Vaughan which can be found in the Little Sparta garden. There is a Pilcrow (¶) at the top of the marker which Finlay explains the poet used in place of a title when certain poems were to be regarded as elegies. Clearly this visual poem is also an elegy for Vaughan.VG+.

SHEEP FOLDED, SHADOWS UNFOLDED. 1999.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1999
8 x 9cm, 4pp, black on white card with a linocut by Jo Hincks of sheep in a glade. Inside is a poem by Finlay:

Sheep Folded, Shadows Unfolded

Shoreham

The sheep are home, and the dark is coming - the shadows are "unfolded". Shoreham is a city that famously has plastic sheep as a public artwork. VG+.

JUNE HAIKU. 1999.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1999
6.5 x 10cm, 4pp, black on white artist's card on opening one sees a drawing by Jennie Spiers of an upturned boat in a forest and opposite there is a Finlay haiku;

The upturned boat's
snowdrift
soldiers on.

The shape of the boat the wrong way up clearly reminds Finlay of how snow clumps in heaps. And what is more, Finlay knows how to write a classical format of Haiku with the middle word "cutting" the meaning of the scene. VG+.

EU ERRATUM. FOR “HARVESTER” READ “GLEANER”. 1999.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, n.d. (1999) 8.2 x 9.5 cm, 2pp artist's card black on blue with a text that Finlay has used on several occasions on the front: FOR "HARVESTER" READ "GLEANER" on the reverse the two boat numbers PD98 and CN 444 are reproduced along with the title EU Erratum. The original boat's name was changed from Harvester to Gleaner when Britain joined the European Union. VG+.

ROMANTICIZING. 1999.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, n.d. (1999) 10 1 x 14cm, 1pp. Artist's postcard black on blue with a text taken from Mixed fragments by Novalis in which the post sees similarities between metaphysical romance and the adoption of a pen name. VG+. .

MANY, MANY THINGS. 1999.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1999
9.5 x 15cm, 1pp, black on bright red artist's card with an appropriated drawing of a Japanese suicide aircraft, and a text:

Many, many things
They bring to mind -
Cherry blossoms

A translation of a poem from the Japanese by Donald Keene which here Finlay associates with the Japanese MXY7 Ohka (Cherry Blossom) rocket-propelled suicide aircraft used near the end of the war in the Pacific. In Japan cherry blossoms are an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life - which of course is more true of kamikaze pilots than most. VG+.

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