Prints + Posters

IAN HAMILTON FINLAY

PRINTS + POSTERS

POSTER/POEM (LE CIRCUS!!) 1964. THE FOURTH EVER PRINT FROM THE WILD HAWTHORN PRESS.

Edinburgh: Wild Hawthorn Press 1964
43.2 × 56cm, blue, orange and black silkscreen on paper. One of the earliest and also most important of poster poems by Finlay. A concrete poem and word landscape.
le circus!! is presumably the name of the boat which is equipped with a green and a red blinker on each side. It has the number K47.
The ship is fully manned but also has corks, nets and the usual fishing tools.
There is a phrase which says "they leap BARE-BACK through the rainbow's hoop" - which one might presume refers to fish but it seems also to be applicable to the boat.
The whole paints a picture in words but also from the layout of the sections one can see how the various elements relate to each other in this snapshot of a fishing trip. But the whole scene is also an entertainment such as one might find in the circus with some of the language used reminding the reader of horses and horsemanship.
An extremely difficult to find print this example has pin holes and some stains in margins. Some prints were sometimes pinned up on walls during poetry readings and then recovered for reuse later - this is one such print. Murray has this as 5.4.

ACROBATS. 1966. FINLAY’S FIFTH PRINT.

Nottingham: Tarasque Press, 1966
53.5 x 44.5cm, blue and red on white screenprint. One of Finlay's most important prints - the letters of the word acrobat are spaced out and repeated so that the individual parts of the word "tumble" by being read in all directions. A VG copy framed in wood and glass. Circa 350 printed. Finlay prints Nr: 4.66.2.

SEA POPPY 1. (FISHING BOAT LETTERS AND NUMBERS). 1966.

Dunsyre: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1966
56 x 43cm, 2pp. red on blue on white paper - a circular design made up of fishing boat numbers typographically set by Alistair Cant on Finlay's instruction. The pattern creates both a planet or the movement in the stars as they appear to spin around the boat as night passes. Stars for boats are essential to allow passage - until modern methods of navigation they were the sailor's only orientation. The pattern creates both a schematic planet or the perceived circular movement in the stars as they appear to spin around the boat as night passes. Stars for sailors are essential to life - until modern methods of navigation they were the only orientation available to the crew and captain of a ship.
This is the first of two large prints with a similar intent - Sea Poppy 2 being in 1968 - the other uses the the names of the boats.
The title Sea Poppy refers to the yellow hornpoppy which only grows on sea shores - again a clear nautical reference.
This design and others like it was used by Finlay in different formats including wall works, object multiples, printed posters and cards - but this printed version uses colours that are hard to see against each other - given the text is more readable in the other formats of this work it is tempting to suggest that the colour clash here was a mistake although some psychedelic designs of the late 60s did deliberately set up such colour clashes.

STAR/STEER. 1966. FINLAY’S SIXTH EVER POEM/PRINT.

Nottingham: Tarasque Press, 1966
57 x 44.5cm, silver on grey silkscreen print. Finlay's sixth ever poem/print - here the word STAR is repeated in a pattern resembling the way a boat weaves home in a zigzag manner and with the font size and spacing varying - the last word in the pattern is the word STEER - which gives the clue to the viewer that it is a journey that is being gazed at. Obviously stars for many centuries were the most important guide to direction - something that Finlay has used as a regular theme in his work from his earliest Scots traditional poems to his first ever concrete poem (see our listings elsewhere on this site). VG+.

SUMMER POEM. 1967.

Dunsyre: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1967
58.5 x 57.5cm, blue and red/brown silkscreen on white paper. The text which reflects shop store posters is visually over written by a white rhythmic line (in fact a proofreader's correction) which looks like a row of yacht sales. Bel at the bottom of the print is the correction to be inserted - the word "sails". A joke on one level (visual pun) but also a seascape with boats on it (the blue background being the water). Murray 5.8.

AJAR. 1967.

Dunsyre: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1967
57 x 44.5cm, black silkscreen on gold thin paper. A concrete poem where the word "ajar" is repeated several times in a vertical column. Because of the repetition of the same letters "wedge shapes" can be left in the text and the words still read easily diagonally - hence reflecting the angles of an item being "ajar".
Finlay's choice of paper was perhaps a mistake here as it is poor quality and many copies we have seen have the same fault as here - an ugly diagonal crease as the paper is brittle and always seems to us to be wrapping paper that could be better used for wrapping than print. Murray 5.9.

LA BELLE HOLLANDAISE. 1967.

Dunsyre: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1967
58 x 43cm, pink and black silkscreen. Concrete poem - one of the earliest Finlay prints. The work is one of a number where Finlay is fascinated by the patches to be found on sails (of both boats and windmills) and also references in its title Picasso's early career portrait of a strapping naked young Dutch woman. The image suggests that one should read the symbol and the word as "Crosspatch" - which is someone easily made upset which strangely one would not take from the semi-smiling woman in the Picasso portrait. But then an unmended sail of either a windmill or a boat would cause the sails to misbehave.
The design was created from Finlay's instructions by Herbert Rosenthal. Murray 5.10

LAND / SEA. 1967.

Dunsyre: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1967
42.5 x 56cm, blue/green and brown silkscreen on white paper. A key to the work is bottom left with the blue/green horizontal lines being sea and the brown diagonal lines being land. Together a lattice or net is formed. Other works including unique etched glass works take up this theme of interrelationships and it is tempting to see correspondences with some of the sundial works. The Tate claims 400 of these were printed but one can never rely on those numbers as Finlay appears to have been inconsistent (it is more usually claimed he printed 350 of most items). Murray 5.11.

HOMAGE TO MALEVICH. 1968?

Bath: Openings Press, n.d.
28 x 28cm, 2pp offset print with an "poem by Ian Hamilton Finlay interpreted by Angela Wellard" noted on the back.
On the front is a re-setting in typographic terms of an early work by Finlay "lackblockblack" but now displayed twice in two similar square text blocks.
The reworking of the original concrete poem in homage to Malevich is given a new meta level by the placing of it twice in geometric relationship to each other. Malevich's black square is not only shown in each text but in the overall composition of the work which abstractly is structured like a Supremacist painting.
We believe this work was created at Bath University during John Furnival's stint in Bath as a tutor when he invited Finlay to come and work with his design group . Eavelines Pondlines was produced at that time but so was this print which would date it as c. 1968. Limitation unknown but not too many. In VG+ condition.

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SEA POPPY 2. (FISHING BOAT NAMES). 1968.

Dunsyre: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1968
56 x 43cm, 2pp. Green on blue on white paper - a circular design made up of fishing boat names typographically set by Alistair Cant on Finlay's instruction. The pattern creates both a planet or the movement in the stars as they appear to spin around the boat as night passes. Stars for boats are essential to allow passage - until modern methods of navigation they were the sailor's only orientation. The choice of the boat names chosen by Finlay reinforces that - all have the word STAR in them e.g. Morning Star, Day Star, Fortune Star and so on.
This is the second of two large prints with a similar intent - Sea Poppy 1 being in 1966 - the other uses the letters and numbers of the boats - here the attractive names people give their vessels are used instead.
The title Sea Poppy refers to the yellow hornpoppy which only grows on sea shores - again a clear nautical reference.
This design and others like it was used by Finlay in different formats including wall works, object multiples, printed posters and cards - but this printed version uses colours that are hard to see against each other - given the text is more readable in the other formats of this work it is tempting to suggest that the colour clash here was a mistake although some psychedelic designs of the late 60s did deliberately set up such colour clashes.

MARINE. 1968. COLLABORATION WITH PATRICK CAULFIELD.

Dunsyre: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1968 45.9 × 52cm, yellow and black on white silkscreen. A collaboration with the well known British pop artist Caulfield in the latter's bold, thick out-llined style. Four lemons are in a bowl, and the word MARINE is next to the bowl seemingly on a piece of wood or card (possibly a fisherman's slip used to identify who owned what fish boxes when the catch went to market).
In a number of different works, Finlay often compares lemons to boats - so this is on one level a scene of a harbour: the lemons are made even more obviously to represent boats as they each has port registration numbers on them.,
The edition size is not known. All copies of the print are unsigned (which was Finlay's preference but a little unusual for the pop artist). There are some scuffs on the black of this silkscreen but else VG. This is a very rare print - partly for the later popularity of Caulfield.
JOINT:
15 x 21cm, 1pp. Printed compliments slip "Marine: Ian Hamilton Finlay:drawn by Patrick Caulfield" and with added hand written note: "Love from Ian, 4 January 1969". Perhaps might be regarded in lieu of a signature.
BR> MEDIUM Screenprint on paper DIMENSIONS Image: