Ron Costley Tag

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1998
88 x 63cm, black silkscreen on white paper - the image by Ron Costley is of the prow of a boat with the usual ballast level markings in the form of Roman numerals staggered to indicate the leading edge of the ship. At the bottom is the word PROEM in similar typography. A proem is a preface or preamble to a book or speech - thus the drawing of the front of the boat is a preamble to the larger work - the vessel.
This is one of a pair of prints both drawn by Costley - the other being a line drawing of the boat's prow with the same title. Only 150 examples of each were printed. VG+.

...

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1997
14.8 x 10.5cm, 2pp, card printed with a drawing by Ron Costley of the front of a boat that is labelled PROEM. The word is similar to POEM and PROW: and there is a stylish beauty to the shape of the front of the ship. However there are other references here to the term "Proem" - firstly to that term invented by El Lissitzky used to refer to his constructivist style based on Malevich's supremacism - and the other meaning - a preface or preamble to a book or speech (the prow being the foremost part of the ship - a physical preamble). The title hence refers all of these different simultaneous meanings. VG+.

...

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1992
10.4 x 14.8cm, 2pp. A photograph by Ron Costley show a relief on a wall that has the sculpted word FiGLEAF over which leaves have been painted. In front of that the photograph shows more leaves but real this time. Hence the work about censorship is itself censored. Meta. VG+.
This example of the card has a short signed note in blue ink from Finlay to John Stathatos giving the latter Stuart Mill's address.

...

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1987
7.5 x 7.5cm, 4pp artist's card with a drawing of an arrow wrapping around the card and overprinted with a poem:

MEMORY
Arrow
which never
forgets

Time moves only in one direction like an arrow but one might also suggest a wound or mark from an arrow is somewhat irreversible. VG+.

...

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1987
76 x 58cm, red on white silkscreen print. The line drawing of a guillotine blade has the word LACONIC on it. A laconic person is someone who uses few words - and the falling of a guillotine not only ends a conversation but also the coversationalist. The red is blood of course.
The image we have used here is from a publication - the print we hold is framed in wood and glass and hard to image without reflections - but the work is in VG+ condition.

...

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1985
5.8 x 20.5cm, 1pp card printed black and red on cream with a drawing of a machine gun by Ron Costley which has holes in the barrel (to prevent over heating). Finlay has used this motif in prints and elsewhere to reflect the pan-pipes of the god Apollo.
Additional are several epigrams from the poet's "More Detached Sentences" (on gardening) and a note: "Owing to practical necessities of Little Sparta's War with Strathclyde Region, the Garden and Garden Temple are presently closed to the public. The provisional government of Little Sparta is revolutionary until the peace.".
This card is dated 1986 in both the flawed Murray Catalogue Raisonne and the Wild Hawthorn Press' own online listing of artist's cards - it is however clearly 1985 - not only printed on the card but additionally this example is hand addressed by Finlay to Harry Warschauer (and with a red rubber stamp impression - STRATHCLYDE REGION DER UNTERGANG DES ABENDLANDES) and the franking to the stamp is clearly dated "5 June 1985". We have restored this item to the correct date in this catalogue. VG+.

...

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1983
20.7 x 10cm, 1pp. A cut-out drawing by Ron Costley of a republican army drum such as played by the martyred Viala. The boy's name is incorporated into the diagonal patterning around the sides - the name having letter shapes that match that well. VIVE LA REPUBLIQUIE!

...

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1983 20.5 x 10.4cm, 4pp (folding from the top). A cut-out drawing by Nicholas Sloan of a section of a tree trunk with an arrow piercing the wood allowing a three-dimensional paper sculpture to be made. The final image reminds one of Saint Sebastian martyred because of his supposed defence of early Christians. The attacks on Finlay at this time probably made him feel like a martyr but this image could also be read as a symbol of the garden of Little Spartas as being under attack. The title of the card is not included and the title here we have taken from Murray's catalogue raisonne although there is no reason to be sure it is correct. VG+.

...

Dunsyre: Wild Hawthorn Press, n.d. (1979)
7.8 x 24cm, 4pp (asymmetric fold). The typography by Ron Costley sets the three words together to form an unitary text. Elsewhere Finlay has used these exact trio of words together to describe the shallow fast moving water of a stream - but now the white on blue lettering gives a different meaning - the bark or outer layer here is the foam on the top of waves with the (deep) blue water beneath it. A visual poem.
Finlay also produced a much larger silkscreen print of this werk.

...

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1979
29.6 x 21cm, full colour offset lithograph with a painting by Ron Costley. The landscape shows where Ulysses had been - but without any landmarks to clearly identify the location. Hence like Ulysses you are lost.
Moreover the phrase "Ulysses was here" also refers to the wartime graffiti "Kilroy was here" as if Ulysses had left his mark on an unknown island.
Interestingly this was original designed to be a folding card and as a result the address of Little Sparta is printed upside down at the top of the sheet. Some copies of these prints were folded by G+Finlay but this is one of the unfolded VG+ examples.

...

Dunsyre: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1978
15 x 10.5cm, 2pp. A list of the latin names of trees all of which share a U in their names are placed one above the other such that a descending line of the letter can be seen (printed in black to highlight it further). Above the text instructs the reader to "play: cover tall the letters except U, using the index finger of each hand."
The "U"s create the fictional flute representing holes - a clear reference to the classical Pan and his pipes. The rest of the card is printed in lime green - again a symbol of vegetation and nature.
this card has been later signed in green ink on the back "Ian Hamilton Finlay 15.4.83". VG+.

...