Archive Video

The gradual release of meaning

This Zoom lecture by Dr Patrick Eyres has been made available by The Gardens Trust. It was commissioned for their ‘Unforgettable Gardens’ series, and presented on 10th February 2021.

The lecture is roughly one hour long and is a warm and personal review of the development of the garden at Stonypath by an expert long-term friend of Ian & Sue Finlay. The lecture contains photographs of the garden over many years, and explains the background to many of the works and ideas in the garden.

If you enjoy this lecture, please make a donation in support of The Little Sparta Trust. It is our privilege to conserve the remarkable & unique part of Scotland’s cultural heritage that is Little Sparta.

Archive Video

Ian Hamilton Finlay on the internet

It is always interesting to see what comes up when you type ‘Little Sparta’ or ‘Ian Hamilton Finlay’ into a web browser. Here are links to a few things we have come across, usually while looking for something else.


“An approximately rational tour”

Someone gave us this video clip several years ago – but we don’t know who it was. If you recognise this, please get in touch.


Little Sparta: An artist’s garden

Andrew Dickson visits Little Sparta, for 40 years the home and studio of Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay, who was also a poet, writer and gardener. Richard Ingleby, co-owner of the Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh, takes us on a tour of the garden in the Pentland Hills, which is filled with the artist’s work.

There is also this little film available from the Ingleby Gallery website.


Garden Marathon 2011: Patrick Eyres – Ian Hamilton Finlay and Little Sparta

The Serpentine Gallery Garden Marathon was the sixth in the Gallery’s acclaimed Marathon series. This two-day event explored the concept of the garden.


1789 – 1794 exhibition at Victoria Miro Gallery 2015

Filmed in 2015 on the occasion of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s exhibition, 1789 – 1794 at Victoria Miro Gallery, London.


Tate Shots

A “Tate Shots” film with Alec Finlay in 2012


“Summer Sails”  The Poem-Prints of Ian Hamilton Finlay

The Hunterian Art Gallery has within its archives a collection of screenprints by the Scottish poet and artist Ian Hamilton Finlay. Dating predominantly from the mid-1960s, the prints reveal a poet in transition as he explores new poetic possibilities in the intermingling of word and image. This podcast by Calum Rodger explores the beauty and significance of these works, showing how they relate to his concrete poetry and work in the garden at Little Sparta, and how they capture one of his most enduring and endearing poetic images: the world of the sail boat and the fishing boat.


“Longing” by Tom and Laurie Clark on the Fife Contemporary website

A charming silent film that came out of Tom’s residency at Little Sparta in 2017.



Marc Cousins visiting Ian Hamilton Finlay at Little Sparta in 1993


A half-hour radio programme including contributions from IHF, Patrick Eyres, Graeme Murray, Alec Finlay, Elsie Mitchell.


Lewis Biggs OBE speaking about his tribute to Ian Hamilton Finlay in the Folkestone Triennial 2017.

“Weather is a third to place and time.”

With the collaboration of the artists’ estate, a ‘detached sentence’ by this artist-poet who loved the sea was written on the Harbour Arm Lighthouse. It has been taken from Ian Hamilton Finlay’s published writings, and this is the first time it has been realised as an artwork.

‘Weather is a Third to Place and Time’ is a practical reminder of how important the weather is to all who work at sea. It also suggests how the weather – onto which we tend to project our moods – colours in and gives meaning to the two dimensions of our normal self-awareness: place and time.


Anthony d’Offay speaking about Ian Hamilton Finlay’s contribution to ARTIST ROOMS

Sailing dinghy 1996



Anthony d’Offay talks to Matthew Gale about the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay, whose work featured in ARTIST ROOMS at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 2010.


IHF Temple of Apollo at Jupiter Artland

‘Consecutive upon Apollo a titanic revolt in his heart’ – L.A. St-Juste.

Made of Portland stone, Ian Hamilton Finlay originally conceived the piece for the Lochin at Little Sparta. But not happy with the ‘grandness’ of the temple he cast it aside. Ian was delighted to find the perfect poetic site for the temple and it was modified by adding the dome and inscribed in gold.


Ingleby Gallery Unseen Masterpiece of the Week, 5 June 2020

To celebrate the end of week 8 of The Unseen Masterpiece Head Gardener, George Gilliland, shows us around Little Sparta, the Garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay, as it enters the summer of lockdown closed to the public.

A film made by George Gilliland and Lynne Maclagan. Texts extracted from Ian Hamilton Finlay, ‘Detached Sentences on Gardening’


Gardens Near and Far – Little Sparta

Episode 36: The Little Sparta garden is South of Edinburgh and lost in the Pentland. It was Ian Hamilton Finlay’s art piece of a lifetime. The late twentieth century Scottish poet and artist was an influent member of the experimental movement referred to as “concrete poetry”.

Archive Video

A Short Introduction to Little Sparta

Ian Hamilton Finlay filmed in 1989 at Little Sparta, giving visitors instructions on navigating the garden and using the map.

Archive Video

Battle Interview extract

In a rare interview at Little Sparta, Ian Hamilton Finlay discusses the events which became known as the First Battle of Little Sparta, with reference to core ideas of spirituality in art, and specifics of his dispute with representatives of the local council at Stonypath.