Object + Paper Multiples

IAN HAMILTON FINLAY

OBJECT + PAPER MULTIPLES

LAND/SEA INDOOR SUNDIAL. 1970.

Edinburgh: Scottish Arts Council, 1970
33.5 × 30.7 × 7.5cm (when assembled) - etched glass, wood and aluminium gnomon in original custom made wooden box (with postal labels still attached) with 15.1 x 28.8cm, 1pp instruction/commentary leaflet by Stephen Bann. A significant early work which is similar in intent to the print LAND / SEA of 1967. The sundial's hour, declination lines and equinox line etched on the glass dial plate are all practical parts of a normal sundial but they serve to also remind one of the sea and a boat's journey across the lines of longitude and latitude as well as a visual pun of a net being cast from the boat and, finally, that of a sail billowing out from the mast.
The number twelve, which is 10˚ East of South according to the instructions, is etched in the glass such that if wished the sundial can work.
The number of these sundials made is not clear - probably not too many - and they are scarce indeed. This example is in VG+ condition and with all the original shipping materials and packing box.

SPIRAL BINDING. 1972. ONE OF ONLY 70 SIGNED & NUMBERED EXAMPLES.

Dunsyre: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1972
45 x 18.5cm, orange silkscreen on shaped card with additional triangular card both spiral bound to create a stand-up paper sculpture that resembles a yacht with sails up. This is one of Finlay's most rare works only issued in 70 signed and numbered copies (there were blue versions of the work also). Co-designed with Ron Costley. This examplee has a very slight bend at the top else VG. Murray places this as a print but it is clearly closer to an object multiple and that is where we have catalogued it.

THE HARBOUR. 1975.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, n.d. (1975)
13 x 13cm., green on white ceramic tile. The image is a drawing by Michael Harvey and a verse:"When from the Nor' Nor' West it blows/And sudden showers make waters chilly/I wrap my sails about my nose and anchor by the water-lily." The verse came from a collection of such poems called A MAST OF HANKIES - each of which tells a tale of toy boats. The reference to the sail being wrapped around one's nose is from the idea that the sails of the model boats are created from nose hankies. Finlay for many years built such toys. VG+. Very scarce.

SAVED BY HELICOPTER. 1975.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, n.d. (1975)
12 x 12cm., olive green and black on white ceramic tile. The image is a newspaper story of how the Morning Star ran aground and that a boat called the Twilight came to the rescue. Clearly the story appealed to Finlay due to the coincidences of the names. One of 100 published. Very scarce.

BATTLE OF MIDWAY FOURTH JUNE 1942. 1975.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, n.d. (1975)
15.3 x 15.3cm., purple on white ceramic tile with a design after a drawing by Laurie Clark representing the American and Japanese Fleets during the battle of Midway as bees and hives. The American fleet destroyed most of the ships while the Japanese airplanes were in air and the latter had nowhere to land after launching. The various hives (with the names of the ships) can be seen to be on fire. The vast distance between the ships meant that they never saw each other - and the intervening rosebushes obscuring the hives from each other act as a metaphor for the distance. One of only 100 made. VG+.

THROUGH A DARK WOOD. MIDWAY. SQUARE TILE. 1975. ONE OF 100 MADE.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, n.d. (1975)
14.8 x 14.8.cm, red on white ceramic tile with one of the Heroic Emblems on it. The text "THROUGH A DARK WOOD. MIDWAY." refers to the defining sea battle of the War in the Pacific when the USA destroyed the Japanese fleet. The image of an aircraft carrier hidden in smoke to prevent air attacks is associated with Dante's opening words from the Inferno "In the middle of our life's journey, I found myself in a dark wood.”. One of only 100 made. Very scarce object multiple.

THROUGH A DARK WOOD. MIDWAY. CIRCULAR TILE. 1975.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, n.d. (1975)
14.8 dia., red on white ceramic tile with one of the Heroic Emblems on it. The text "THROUGH A DARK WOOD. MIDWAY." refers to the defining sea battle of the War in the Pacific when the USA destroyed the Japanese fleet. The image of an aircraft carrier hidden in smoke to prevent air attacks is associated with Dante's opening words from the Inferno "In the middle of our life's journey, I found myself in a dark wood.”. The image on this circular tile is the same as that on the square tile issued at the same time and while the limitation not known for some reason this is a much rare version of the ceramic than the square one.

FIVE FORE AND AFTERS. 1975. ONE OF ONLY 100 MADE.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, n.d. (1975)
14.8 x 14.8cm., green on white ceramic tile with the names of five boat names (and their registered harbours). A fore-and-aft rig is a sailing vessel rigged mainly with sails set along the line of the keel. The names are all optimistic and the typography reflects the shape of the vessels. The title is alliterative around the letter F. One of only 100 made. Scare. VG+.

A CELEBRATION OF EARTH, AIR, FIRE, WATER. 1975. MEDALLION.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 19975
3.5cm, dia. copper and brass plated aluminium medallion with chain. With a design by Ron Costley (which originally was created for the exhibition Heroic Emblems) of an aircraft carrier with a plane taking off from the deck. The original drawing relates to the USS Enterprise at the battle of Midway where the Japanese fleet was destroyed by the Americans. Finlay sees the aircraft carrier as typifying the classical elements of air, earth, sky, water and fire.
All of the Heroic Emblems showed modern machines (mostly of war) in reference to Classical myths. With original box and 14.5 x 14.5cm, 1pp (folded twice) leaflet with a commentary by Stephen Bann. Edition size not known but very hard to find.

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KLEINER KREUZER SONATA. 1975. MEDALLION.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 19975
3 x 4.5cm, copper and brass plated aluminium medallion with chain. With a design by Ron Costley (which originally was created for the exhibition Heroic Emblems) of a wartime light cruiser with smoking chimney sacks. The drawing is a representation of one of the poet's earlier one-word poems - namely:

KLEINER KREUZER SONATA

Emden

The reference here is a poetic equivalence of a "Kleiner Kreuzer" (a light cruiser) and the Kreu(t)xer Sonata by Beethoven. Both are suggested to be celebrated by mention of the German Warship Emden which was celebrated for its heroic exploits by its national populus (and, of course, Beethoven also was German).
All of the Heroic Emblems showed modern machines (mostly of war) in reference to Classical myths. With original box and 14.5 x 14.5cm, 1pp (folded twice) leaflet with a commentary by Stephen Bann. Edition size not known but very hard to find.

PLAINT OF THE BARGE-SAILS. c. 1975?

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, n.d. (c. 1975?)
12 x 24cm., brown on white ceramic tile. The well known song Oranges & Lemons is re-written to re-contextualise the nursery rhyme to a maritime alternative - each rhyme ends with a fishing port and that geographical distinction defines which boat is chosen to make the couplet. Date unknown but all other Finlay tiles were published in the mid 70s. This tile is not in Murray or any other catalogue raisonne. A rarity. VG+.