RSB interviewee Ken Worpole takes a look at Ian Hamilton Finlay’s world: "The landscape artist Ian Hamilton Finlay created an extraordinary fusion of sculpture, inscription and philosophy in his Little Sparta garden."
Ian Hamilton Finlay, who died at the age of 80 on 27 March 2006, was one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. His output was marked by intense political controversy.
His early works, poetry and short stories, developed in the early 1960s into an engagement with the world of concrete poetry, an artistic form first popularised in Brazil, though Finlay's variant was self-generated and contemporaneous (like that of his Scots compatriot Edwin Morgan, whose 1966 poem observed of his friend "you give the pleasure / of made things"). Some of this was exhibited at an international exhibition of concrete poetry at the Brighton festival in 1967, where I first saw it, and it made an immediate impact then – principally one of delight.