Gwyn Headley Tag

Little Sparta: Finlay, n.d. (April 1988) An original vintage xerox 30 x 21cm, 1pp with a Press Release from Finlay announcing the appointment of two Parisian lawyers - Maitre Zylberstein and Maitre Nordman. it notes that the former represented Daniel Buren when he was in conflict with the French Government and the latter a prominent member of the French Communist Party and represented the victims of the Nazi Claus Barbie in the (then) recent trial in France.
The statement announces that "actions for damages are being taken against Jonathan Hirschfeld and a number of French publications as well as against the French government. A "Droit de Reponse" is also being sought."
The statement also announces that "on the night of April 26 the French Section of the Saint-Just Vigilantes carried out a series of poster raids on enemy territory. Among the target-buildings were the French Ministry of Culture, the offices of Art Press and Galeries magazine, the Hirschfeld residence, and the Ligue des Droits de l'Homme. The posters carried a text from Dante: "Lasciate Ogni Speranza Voi CH'Enratre!".
Those words are the famous warning over the gates to Hades - Abandon hope, all who enter here!
Finally the statement notes "the smear campaign being carried out by Waldemar Januszczak of the Guardian, Gwyn Headley the publicist, Wim Meulenkamp, Warren Davis of the National Trust and others in England and Holland. "Appropriate action is being prepared."
A copy of the press release distributed by Finlay to friends and supporters as part of the latter's information campaign against his opponents - in it all of Finlay's enemies are name checked.

...

Little Sparta: Finlay, 22nd December 1986
An original vintage xerox 30 x 21cm, 1pp with a round robin letter from Finlay to all of the Saint-Just Vigilantes explaining the the Consumer Protection Department has begun an investigation of "Follies: a National Trust Guide" by Headley and Meulenkamp and published by Jonathan Cape. Finlay asks if his supporters can write to the CPD with letters explaining why Little Sparta is not a Folly and why it should not be included in such a guide. Finlay hopes the investigation may lead to the withdrawal of the Follies book. The letter ends with one of Finlay's "detached sentences on the National Trust":
"One cannot preserve the meaning of a building by preserving the building alone."

...

London: Jonathan Cape, 1986
21.4 x 14.7cm, 5664pp plus original boards and pictorial dust jacket. First edition of this "guide" to "follies". This was the book that made Finlay so angry because of the short review of Stoneypath (later Little Sparta) and his ire is understandable. The paragraph reads:
Near the village of DUNSYRE about two miles west of the Peebles-Lanark border is Stoneypath, a bogland garden developed from 1967 onwards by the peet Ian Hamilton Finlay. it is a fine and justly famed new garden, but although there isd an Apollo Temple, a broken column or two, and an avalanche of poetic mottoes and inscriptions, the insistent namedropping of pastoral painters and writers and garden theorists tend to get on one's nerves. Everything in Stoneypath is on such a small and fragile scale that one starts hankering for something more manly, like a Wallace monument or a sturdy Gothick eye catcher."
Given Little Sparta has been voted by artists, critics and the general public to be the greatest Scottish artwork of modern times, it is fair to judge Gwyn Headley and Wim Meulenkamp harshly. Their comment " insistent namedropping" is crass and clearly shows that the works they saw were beyond their capabilities. VG+.

...