Correspondence concerning the disputes between Ian Hamilton Finlay and the Fulrum and Coracle Presses

Scope and Content

Photocopies of four folders of correspondence relating to the disputes between Ian Hamilton Finlay and Fulcrum Press and with Coracle Press. In 1974 Ian Hamilton Finlay quarrelled with the Fulcrum Press over their First Edition of his 'The dancers inherit the party', which Finlay did not consider to be a true first edition. During 1976 the relationship between Finlay and Simon Cutts who was then running the Coracle Press and Gallery became strained with Finlay claiming that Coracle Press owed him money for his Wild Hawthorn Press publications which he had supplied to them for sale in their bookshop. He successfully sued them in Lambeth County Court. Part of the dispute also centred on articles and comments made by Ian Gardner in the publication 'Blue Tunnel'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Finlay, Ian Hamilton (1925–2006), Scottish sculptor, graphic artist and poet. Brought up in Scotland, he briefly attended Glasgow School of Art and first made his reputation as a writer, publishing short stories and plays in the 1950s. In 1961 he founded the Wild Hawthorn Press with Jessie McGuffie and within a few years had established himself internationally as Britain's foremost concrete poet. His publications also played an important role in the initial dissemination of his work as a visual artist. As a sculptor, he has worked collaboratively in a wide range of materials, having his designs executed as stone-carvings, as constructed objects and even in the form of neon lighting.

In 1966 Finlay and his wife, Sue, moved to the hillside farm of Stonypath, south-west of Edinburgh, and began to transform the surrounding acres into a unique garden, which he named Little Sparta. He revived the traditional notion of the poet's garden, arranging ponds, trees and vegetation to provide a responsive environment for sundials, inscriptions, columns and garden temples. As the proponent of a rigorous classicism and as the defender of Little Sparta against the intrusions of local bureaucracy, he insisted on the role of the artist as a moralist who comments sharply on cultural affairs. The esteem won by Finlay's artistic stance and style is attested by many important large-scale projects undertaken throughout the world. The ‘Sacred Grove', created between 1980 and 1982 at the heart of the Kröller-Müller Sculpture Park, Otterlo, is one of the most outstanding examples of Finlay's work outside Little Sparta.

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