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Ian Hamilton Finlay - Sentences

29 July - 23 October 2005 

Ian Hamilton Finlay - Sentences

Ian Hamilton Finlay: installation view; "Sentences", Inverleith House, 2005

This exhibition of new work by Ian Hamilton Finlay was commissioned by The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to celebrate the artist's eightieth birthday in October 2006. Sentences consisted of words and phrases composed by the artist whilst living at Little Sparta, the renowned garden in the Pentland Hills which he created over a forty year period which has been described as "the most important work of art created in Scotland during the last century".

Sentences was conceived by the artist, assisted by Pia Maria Simig and arranged into rooms reflecting themes such as gardens, the weather and friendship. Typographic assistance was provided by Gary Hincks, and the lettering was hand-painted directly onto the Gallery walls by another long-standing collaborator, Les Edge.

Although Ian Hamilton Finlay had exhibited in many major museums and galleries worldwide, this was the first major exhibition of new work to have been held in Edinburgh, and the largest since his retrospective in 1972 exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, when it was located at Inverleith House.

It was accompanied by an exhibition of sculpture, printed works and garden proposals L'Idylle des Cerises at The Ingleby Gallery, which was on display until 17 September 2006, and an exhibition of printed works from The Wild Hawthorn Press at The Scottish Poetry Library, until 7 October, 2006.

Little Sparta

The Little Sparta Trust exists to sustain and protect the garden at Little Sparta for the future, and your support is needed. If you would like to help, please contact the trust on info@littlesparta.org or telephone 01556 640 244.


We wish to thank; Edinburgh College of Art, GF Smith Papers, Victoria Miro, The Ingleby Gallery and Edinburgh Art Festival 2005.

Ian Hamilton Finlay - Sentences

Ian Hamilton Finlay: installation view; "Sentences", Inverleith House, 2005

Ian Hamilton Finlay - Sentences

Ian Hamilton Finlay: installation view; "Sentences", Inverleith House, 2005

Ian Hamilton Finlay - Sentences

Ian Hamilton Finlay: installation view; "Sentences", Inverleith House, 2005

Ian Hamilton Finlay - Sentences

Ian Hamilton Finlay: installation view; "Sentences", Inverleith House, 2005

Ian Hamilton Finlay - Sentences

Ian Hamilton Finlay: installation view; "Sentences", Inverleith House, 2005

All works courtesy of the artist. 

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)