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‘…the exquisite care with which this show has been arranged demonstrates immediately and with utter conviction the sheer beauty of much of the work that Finlay achieved with his collaborations.’

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Duncan Macmillan, Scotsman


Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) was an internationally renowned Scottish artist and also Britain’s most significant concrete poet of the 20th century. This major exhibition focuses on the maritime theme in Finlay’s work. It was a central element of his art, and one to which he returned throughout his life.

Drawn from the artist’s estate and the City Art Centre’s collection, and including loans from the National Galleries of Scotland, this exhibition showcases artworks from across several decades, ranging from stone, wood and neon sculptures to tapestry. The show also features prints, postcards and booklets from Finlay’s Wild Hawthorn Press capturing Finlay’s interest in nautical themes across a variety of media.

Exhibition in partnership with the Estate of Ian Hamilton Finlay and presented as part of Edinburgh Art Festival 2021 and Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21.


To coincide with the City Art Centre’s exhibition, the Scottish Poetry Library presents a small display of works by Finlay, drawn from its archive. From Sea to City: Ian Hamilton Finlay runs from 25 May to 9 October 2021.

Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton's Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT. 0131 557 2876

Little Sparta, the garden at Stonypath, in the Pentland Hills, where Finlay lived and worked for 40 years is now considered one of Scotland’s greatest 20th century artworks. For further information please visit

Little Sparta, Stonypath, Dunsyre ML11 8NG. 07826 495 677


Visitors to the gallery can also enjoy the free mini display Joan Eardley (1921 - 1963). Four artworks from the City Art Centre's permanent collection are on display: Girl in a Striped Cardigan, Tenement, Old Woman Sewing and July Fields. The display is available to view on the ground floor until 10 October 2021 - this is part of the nationwide programme of events marking the centenary of the birth of Joan Eardley.

Marine: Ian Hamilton Finlay