Ian Hamilton Finlay

Coastal Boy (Fishing Boat: A534) (1977)

About this artwork

In the 1960s and 1970s, Finlay used fishing boats and the sea as a point of departure for poems and artwork. This work refers to the name of a fishing boat. Finlay's art is a unique and complex fusion of poetry, graphic art and sculpture. He believed that words should not be 'held captive' on the pages of a book, as this piece illustrates.

  • title: Coastal Boy (Fishing Boat: A534)
  • accession number: GMA 3603
  • artist: Ian Hamilton FinlayScottish (1925 - 2006)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Sculpture
  • subject: Scottish literature
  • date created: 1977
  • measurements: 26.10 x 244.50 x 6.40 cm
  • credit line: Purchased 1992
  • copyright: © By courtesy of the estate of Ian Hamilton Finlay

Ian Hamilton Finlay

Ian Hamilton Finlay

Finlay was born in the Bahamas to Scottish parents, who returned to Scotland when he was a child. He attended Glasgow School of Art for a brief period but began his career as a writer of 'concrete poetry'. Finlay's work investigates the power of images and symbols, particularly those associated with militarism, politics, classicism and nature. Creating an analogy between war and the forces of Nature, he highlighted the thin line that exists between creation and destruction, order and disorder, culture and chaos. His art presents a challenging and often complex fusion of poetry, graphic design and sculpture. In 1966 Finlay moved to a farmhouse in the Pentland Hills, south of Edinburgh, where he created a sculpture garden called Little Sparta to display his artworks in a natural setting.