Unique Works

IAN HAMILTON FINLAY

UNIQUE WORKS

LOOK, SEE. 1962. POSSIBLY UNIQUE SIGNED TYPSCRIPT TO VICTOR VASARELY. POSSIBLY FINLAY’S FIRST EVER CONCRETE POEM.

N.p:. s.p. (Finlay), Christmas 1962
20.3 x 17.4cm, original typescript on typing paper - with an original poem entitled "Look, see" - the first work by Finlay that may well be identified as a visual or concrete poem that we know of. The text- :: "A star ah afar a ww ww wan wan" is similar to other more traditional works by Finlay of the time which used modern day Scots vernacular but the placing of the words one above each other connected by vertical lines (which would have taken some care in construction) give an additional meaning to the text - indicating the act of looking up at a star. The context of being a Xmas gift to Victor Vasarely (the letter is signed to him) gives this work a slight religious overtone.
The letter is hand typed but there was probably more than one made as the "Happy Christmas to" and "from" parts are typed and the name later hand written in by Finlay suggesting others to other friends were made but we have never seen another example of this work. This has been glued at some point in an album (there are paper lacks in the corners of the page where it has been removed and it is somewhat browned but this is an important and quite possibly unique document.

SSN 571. UNIQUE FABRIC SCULPTURE – PROTOTYPE FOR AN UNREALISED MULTIPLE. EARLY 1983.

This is a fully developed handmade prototype for a tea-cozy mulltiple, approx. it was never actually put into production but made in the early 1980s on Finlay's instruction.
Constructed of hand- stitched, quilted, mauve satin in the shape of a battleship the letters and numbers “SSN 571” in silver fabric and are sewn onto both sides.
Three cylindrical finger-like pieces of mauve satin protrude from the top perhaps suggesting some type of armour and/or navigation devices or even a missile launch; there are two multi-colored patches sewn to each side of the front suggesting windows.
There is a small WHP identification sticker loosely adhered at the inside the top of the prototype.
To the best of our knowledge, this unique fabric sculpture, acquired by Trevor Winkfield from Ian Hamilton Finlay in the summer of 1983, was not produced as an edition.
The reference letters identify this work as representing HMS Nautilius - the first ever submarine powered by nuclear power. There is a lovely correspondence between the submarine body surrounding the energy source and a tea cosy with warm tea at its heart fuelling the body corporeal.

THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF IAN HAMILTON FINLAY. RUBBER STAMPED ENVELOPE. 1986.

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1986
Folded empty DL manilla envelope with black rubber stamp impression with the text: "THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF IAN HAMILTON FINLAY".
This was an original small work sent by Finlay to Peter Townsend. It is a comment on Finlay's fight with Catherine Millet who bizarrely and wrongly accused Finlay of being an anti-semite. The envelope of course had no facts inside it - which was Finlay's view of his accuser's arguments. Unique thus. We presume other such envelopes were created given that Finlay had the rubber stamp made but we have never seen another example.

SAILS FY27. UNIQUE SCULPTURAL WORK. 1998.

43 x 57 x 15cm, stone with red paint. Executed in 1998. Unique sculpture with a relief image displaying the sails of a boat that has been “patched”. This work relates to similar works by Finlay including postcards and prints where the patching of a sail is compared to that of a poor person’s clothing - but also references Picasso’s harlequins with their colourful divisions of clothing and patches on windmill sails. The work was created for IHF after his instruction by Andrew Whittle.
The work comes with the original custom made painted wood stand and base - c. 150 x 65 x 20cm.
Previously exhibited at
Barcelona, Fundacio Joan Miró, 'Ian Hamilton Finlay: Variations on Different Themes', February - March 1999
St Ives, Tate St Ives, 'Ian Hamilton Finlay, Maritime Works', March - June 2002
Edinburgh, Ingleby Gallery, 'Ian Hamilton Finlay', June - July 2009
Purchased from Frank and Lorna Dumphy Collection via auction and prior sale from the artist to the collection via Ingleby Gallery in 2001

ENHRENTEMPLE.

17 x 17 x 10cm, block of four etched stones on a marble base. An unique work with stylised Greek ionic columns holding a "frieze" with the words around the stones:

how blue! how far! how sad! how small! how white!

The texts are exclamations about a horizon where the sky meets the ground and a reminder how great forces are at work in the natural world hence this is a Romantic work.
This is an unique small work and not a maquette for a larger work.
There are small scratches and chips in the blocks but overall it is still in VG condition. We are not aware of the date of this work - we believe in the early 2000s.