Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925 – 2006) was one of Scotland’s greatest artists and poets.


Over more than 50 years Finlay not only created the Wild Hawthorn Press that helped disseminated the work of a network of international experimental poets but redefined the British poetry scene itself: in particular forming around his activities a major strand of the emerging visual and concrete poetry movement. Finlay published journals, artist’s books and poster prints which were priced cheaply and often made easily available at literary events, and by the mid 60s had taken his poetry into art galleries and began to create public works in the landscape.


Finlay published hundreds of his own books, cards, posters and prints as well as initially constructing wooden toys and then, later, collaborating on sculptures and large scale works with a range of artisans. His garden and temple buildings at Little Sparta is one of the greatest examples of land and environmental art of the 20th century.


On these pages we display Paul Robertson’s collection of Ian Hamilton Finlay – the result of over 20 years frenetic searching throughout the world. From the earliest publications to later books and editions, there are utter rarities here that are significant (and relatively unknown) works in the poet’s oeuvre as well as large scale unique works as well as fascinating letters and documents.


The intent is to keep it as a distinct and discrete collection. It may be for sale but only as a whole. It may under certain circumstances be available for exhibition.


There are approximately 1,000 items in the collection. Eventually all will be catalogued and photographed and placed online here. The commentaries on each work are from Robertson’s own notes on each item. This cataloguing will take some time but we hope this slowly emerging project will be worth multiple visits and a useful resource for Finlay aficionados.


You are welcome to contact us relating to this collection. We are happy for you to use images and texts but would ask for full acknowledgments in publications or online. We retain copyright on all original material herein.

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