Finlay, Ian Hamilton 1925-2006

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Finlay, Ian Hamilton 1925-2006


See index for CA sketch: Born October 28, 1925, in Nassau, the Bahamas; died of cancer, March 27, 2006, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Artist and author. Finlay was best known as a poet and sculptor of conceptual pieces known for his large installations, such as "Little Sparta" and "Wave Rock." Born in the Bahamas, his father was a bootlegger during the 1920s before the family moved back to Scotland. Here, Finlay attended the Glasgow School of Art until 1942, when he was called up to serve in the Royal Army Service Corps during the war. With World War II over, he pursued a life as a Scottish shepherd while painting and writing poems and plays on the side. Some of his dramas were broadcast on the British Broadcasting Corp., and his stories appeared in the Glasgow Herald. Beginning in the late 1950s, Finlay began to see collections of his poems and tales in book form, beginning with The Sea-Bed and Other Stories (1958). In 1961, he also founded his own publishing house, Wild Hawthorn Press, which focused on printing the works of contemporary poets. Although he also painted, he was best known for his large sculpture pieces in which he tried to meld the poetry of language with the natural landscape. Finlay named his home in Scotland "Little Sparta," where some of his most notable works can be found, and where he created a kind of sculpture garden dedicated to his pacifistic beliefs that has become a popular draw for art lovers who visit the country. In the United States, his best-known piece is "Wave Rock," located at the University of California at San Diego's campus. Completed in 1987, the stone forms are inscribed with the Latin word "UNDA" for wave. The recipient of several Scottish Arts Council bursaries, as well as the Atlantic-Richfield Award, Finlay was shortlisted for the Turner Prize for contemporary art in 1985 and was appointed a Commander of the British Empire in 2002.



Los Angeles Times, March 30, 2006, p. B11.

New York Times, March 31, 2006, p. A17.

Times (London, England), March 28, 2006, p. 64.

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Finlay, Ian Hamilton 1925-2006

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