AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

FINLAY, Ian Hamilton (b 1925)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0000 Ian Hamilton Finlay Archive
Held at: University of the Arts London: Chelsea College of Art and Design
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: FINLAY, Ian Hamilton (b 1925)
Date(s): [1971-1996]
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: approximately 1000 items
Name of creator(s): Finlay | Ian | Hamilton | b 1925 | poet and sculptor


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in Nassau, Bahamas, 1925; returned to Scotland as a child; educated at boarding school; poverty in Glasgow; education ended at the age of thirteen with the outbreak of war and evacuation to the Orkneys; briefly attended Glasgow School of Art; army service, 1942-1945; sergeant in the RASC, saw service in Germany; became friendly with the artists Colquhoun, MacBryde, Hohn Minton; worked as a shepherd in the Orkneys, 1945; agricultural labourer; wrote short stories and plays, some broadcast by the BBC; moved to Edinburgh, 1950s; labourer in the Orkneys, working on rhyming poems; founded the Wild Hawthorn Press with Jessie McGuffie, 1961; produced the periodical Poor. Old. Tired. Horse., 1962-1968; produced the broadside Fishsheet for concrete poetry, 1963; publication of Rapel, collection of concrete poems, and of Standing Poem I, 1963; Canal Stripe Series 3, first published booklet-poem, 1964; settled at Stonypath, 1966, and began work on the 4 acre garden; Scottish representative on the Comité International of the concrete poetry movement, 1967; contributor to the International concrete poetry exhibition, 1967 Brighton Festival; first one-man exhibition at the Axiom Gallery, London, 1968; published the Weed Boat Masters Ticket booklet, first question booklet, 1971; retrospective exhibition, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 1972; started a series of works for the Max Planck Institute Garden, Stuttgart, 1974; ceramic works in collaboration with David Ballantyne, 1975-1976; Collaborations exhibition, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, 1977; exhibited at the Silver Jubilee Exhibition of Contemporary Sculpture, Battersea Park, London, 1977; exhibited at the Serpentine Gallery, London, 1977; cancelled exhibition in Edinburgh as a protest against actions of Scottish Arts Council officials, 1978; Stonypath renamed Little Sparta, 1978; corresponded with Albert Speer, 1978; beginning of the 'Free Arts' project, 1978; worked on Japanese Stacks with John R Thorpe, 1978-1979; Nature Over Again After Poussin travelling exhibition, 1980-1981; exhibited at the Sculpture Show, Hayward Gallery, London, 1983; collaboration with the architect Andrew Townsend, 1983-1984; garden and temple at Little Sparta reopened to visitors, 1984; exhibitions at Merian-Park, Basel, Graeme Murray Gallery, Edinburgh and British Council's British Show in Australia; touring exhibition organized by Southampton Art Gallery, 1984; exhibitions with Sarkis at the Espace Rameau-Chapelle Sainte-Marie, Never, France and at the Eric Fabre Gallery, Paris; outdoor sculpture exhibitions at Geneva, and Wageningen, Holland, 1985; shortlisted for the Turner Prize, 1985; exhibited Osso in Paris, 1987; honorary professorship, University of Dundee, 1999.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers relating to Ian Hamilton Finlay, [1971-1996], comprising guides and booklets for sculpture exhibitions and poetry readings, 1969-1992; press cuttings and articles relating to Finlay's work, 1983-1993; artist's books by Finlay, [1971-1996], published by Wild Hawthorn Press; postcards produced by Finlay, [1968-1996], many published by the Wild Hawthorn Press.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The papers are unsorted.

Conditions governing access:

By written application to the Site Librarian, Manresa Road, London, SW3 6LS. Researchers from the London Institute may visit by appointment.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopying is permitted at the discretion of the Librarian.

Finding aids:

The material is uncatalogued. Published material relating to the collection is catalogued on the Library TALIS system.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

Published material by Finlay is available in the Library's main collection.

Correspondence and papers (5091 items), 1953-1973, held by Indiana University, Lilly Library; correspondence and papers, 1948-1993, held by the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities; photocopied files of correspondence relating to his disputes with Fulcrum Press and Coracle Press, 1974-1979, held by the Tate Gallery Archive (reference: TGA 824); letters to H S Ede, held by Cambridge University, Kettle's Yard Museum and Art Gallery; letters to Duncan Glen, 1968-1974, held by the National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division (reference: Acc 7125 7147); letters to E W Marwick, 1955-1959, Orkney Archives; letters to Stuart Mills, 1971-1979, held by the Tate Gallery Archive (reference: TGA 823); letters to Robert Nye, 1969-1971 and correspondence with Derek Stanford, 1944-1971, held by the National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division; papers held by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: Historical Manuscripts Commission On-line National Register of Archives; website of the Stuart Collection, University of California: Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
July 2002

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Personal Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"