Beauty and Revolution: The Poetry and Art of Ian Hamilton Finlay

8 Dec 2014 – 1 Mar 2015

Event times

Tuesday – Sunday 11.30-5pm

Cost of entry


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“The most original Scottish artist of the second half of the 20th century”

Financial Times, July 2012


The Scottish poet Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925–2006) first met and began to correspond with Jim Ede, the founder of Kettle’s Yard in 1964. In the same year, a group of Cambridge students had started to exhibit and write about his work. Among the students was Stephen Bann who went on to become an expert on the artist.


The exhibition, devised by Professor Bann and coming from his private collection, traces Ian Hamilton Finlay’s artistic development from the poems that made him Britain’s most internationally acclaimed concrete poet to the images

and texts that marked his engagement with the ideas of the French Revolution. It also presents his famous garden, Little Sparta, in photographs and film.


Visitors can explore this collection of often vividly coloured and beautifully designed standing and folding poems, prints, cards, emblems and inscriptions. Ian Hamilton Finlay’s works range from the witty and whimsical to the dark and thought-provoking. Recurring themes include classical writers, maritime subjects, the French Revolution and war.




From July 2015 Kettle's Yard House and Gallery will be closed to visitors. This is to enable the completion of a major building project to greatly improve facilities for visitors, artists and children and young people. For more information, including about our plans for activities offsite, please see www.kettlesyard.co.uk


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