HAMILTON FINLAY (IAN) An interesting archive, comprising: 10 typed letters signed (19 pages), 3 postcards signed,  and 6 christmas cards designed and signed by Hamilton Finlay ("Ian"); 7 books by Hamilton Finlay published by the Wild Hawthorn Press; a pocket sculpture ("SP"), and the book object "Two Horizons" in original box
Lot 862
HAMILTON FINLAY (IAN) An interesting archive, comprising: 10 typed letters signed (19 pages), 3 postcards signed, and 6 christmas cards designed and signed by Hamilton Finlay ("Ian"); 7 books by Hamilton Finlay published by the Wild Hawthorn Press; a pocket sculpture ("SP"), and the book object "Two Horizons" in original box
Sold for £1,860 (US$ 2,916) inc. premium

Auction 15120: Scottish Sale
23 Aug 2007 11:00 BST

Edinburgh
Lot Details
HAMILTON FINLAY (IAN)
An interesting archive, comprising: 10 typed letters signed (19 pages), 3 postcards signed, and 6 Christmas cards designed and signed by Hamilton Finlay ("Ian"); 7 books by Hamilton Finlay published by the Wild Hawthorn Press; a pocket sculpture ("SP"), and the book object "Two Horizons" in original box, and other ephemera, including exhibition invitations, and a scarf given to the vendor (quantity)

Footnotes

  • "YOU ARE MY APHRODITE OF KELVINGROVE PARK."

    A moving series of letters, written between 1 June 1992, and 7 July 2000, from Ian Hamilton Finlay to Christine Shaw, a fellow student at Glasgow School of Art with whom he became enamoured at the time, and then not seen until she reappeared at the gates of Little Sparta in 1992. After which they renewed their friendship.

    In his first letter he remembered her way of dressing at art school, not "like August John... but in more simple stuff... sweet and unassuming", and in a second, a week later, he writes "the short meeting left me regretful; there is always this problem about ordinary life and one's inner life... I saw you, see you, in the glamour of my recollection", that he thought of putting an advertisement in the paper "but I didn't know what paper would be relevant... for me you were not like the other people of that time... you are my Aphrodite of Kelvingrove Park". He confesses "to having a sweet little memory of your long ago knickers, which is inexplicable, because we were not on such terms (alas)..." A year later he muses "that it was as if the lost past could be re-found and in some magic and very special (and unclear) way, redeemed... Well, I am a silly person, and in some ways and impossible one, (not least impossible to myself)... Christine, I can't even BEGIN to tell you my past life. I could have, between little kisses, with your arms around me..."

    In other letters he talks of a mutual friend at the art school, of his current occupations ("I am listening to a CD, of 17th century music from a French film. It is very sad music"), of exhibitions and the garden at Little Sparta ("I have a lot of plans for my own garden, but will they be fulfilled"), art ("I am very enamoured of a certain aspect of England, Kettles Yard, English art of the 1930's, that cool Englishness - so unlike Scotland, which of course I love because it is mine - my responsibility - but which is all lumpy and worried and mostly has no idea whatever about Beauty and Art").

    The Wild Hawthorn Press titles are: Detached Sentences on Friendship, 1991; A Harbour of Roses, 1993; A Book of Wild Flowers, 1994; Unsigned, 1995; Threes Gates, 1996; Highlights. A Homage to André Derain, 1997; Huff Lane, 2000. The last mentioned is limited to 300 copies, the others to 250 copies.
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