The Little Sparta Trust has gathered a wealth of archival material relating to Ian Hamilton Finlay and the garden at Little Sparta. This has been donated by many artists, writers, academics, family members and collaborators who worked with the artist. The Trust intends to be a safe store for this valuable resource, but will also publish a selection on this website to give an insight into the history and development of the garden. 

  • Tending the Kailyard

    Tending the Kailyard. One of Assistant Gardener Lynne Maclagan’s tasks is to tend the Kailyard, Little Sparta’s vegetable patch. Here Lynne tells us about how she learned some of the

  • 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

  • Lichens at Little Sparta

    Sharing Little Sparta with Peter Manson

    Peter Manson (born Glasgow, 1969) is a poet and translator of poetry. He was one of three artists on the Sharing Little Sparta residency programme in 2016. This latest publication

  • Four Seasons In Sail

    Originally posted on Instagram, this publication shows a selection of images from Little Sparta over the course of one year (2019). Since the garden is only open to the public from

  • A Year of The Present Order

        This project documents the subtle and dramatic changes in the effects of weather and the passage of the seasons from a single viewpoint in the garden at Little

  • A Moorland Garden

    For over a quarter of a century, I visited Ian Hamilton Finlay annually at Little Sparta. Equipped with my analogue single-lens reflex camera, I used on each visit at least

  • ML11 8NG

    Janet Boulton first visited Little Sparta in 1993. In the publication ML11 8NG, shared below, you can see a selection of Boulton’s paintings, paperpulp relief works and artworks in her

  • Selected Sentences on Gardening

    “We are fully immersed in springtime – the light and colours of the garden change and freshen. Seasonal jobs start to stack up as new growth emerges.”   “All of the

  • Then and Now

    Richard Demarco (born in Edinburgh, 1930) is an artist and promoter of the visual and performing arts.  He has been one of Scotland’s most influential advocates for contemporary art through

  • Wildflowers

    Wildflowers at Little Sparta It is February 1994, a year before the Kunsthalle Hamburg exhibition ‘Works: Pure and Political’. Ian is sitting in his winged chair by the fire on

  • Personal Geographies

    Eileen Hogan at Little Sparta This has been written in April 2020. Because of the coronavirus pandemic I am ‘landlocked’ in a small mews house in London without a garden.

  • 1987

    Photos by Daniel Boudinet In 1987 Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925–2006) presented the exhibition Poursuites révolutionnaires at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain to mark the bicentenary of the French Revolution. To accompany this

  • A History of Signs and Objects

    Photos by Patrick Eyres SIGNS Signs have always played an important role in the garden at Little Sparta – both as artworks but also as statements – particularly in relation to

  • sue_finlay_1986

    The Conservation & Management Plan

    In 2011, thanks to a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, we were able to employ historic landscape consultancy Debois to survey Little Sparta and prepare a Conservation & Management

  • 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

  • Stonypath Sunrise…

    … and Victory March for Little Sparta (1991) for english horn/oboe, viola, harp, and percussion by Robert Carl. Dedicated to Ian Finlay. Written for the harpist Elizabeth Morse and friends.

  • snowdrops

    Snowdrops: a small obsession

    by Ann Uppington. First published in our newsletter in 2016… Outside Sue Swan’s former home in the village of Dunsyre you can see in February the results of her snowdrop

  • Garden diary photo gallery

    Photographs of Little Sparta, taken by George Gilliland.   These photos have accompanied the Head Gardener’s Diary over recent years.   .

  • Daniel Boudinet

    Photographs of Little Sparta 1987, taken by Daniel Boudinet.   Daniel Boudinet was a photographer from Paris (France). He began photographing in the late 1960s, especially architecture and landscape, and

  • Keith Bailey, 1929-2017: An Appreciation by Patrick Eyres

    An essay by Dr Patrick Eyres. This drawing, by Chris Broughton (fig. 1), salutes the way that the craftsmanship of Keith Bailey articulates the poetry of Ian Hamilton Finlay. It

  • Signs of the Times

    Photographs of the entrance signs to Little Sparta over the years, taken by Patrick Eyres.

  • 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 Photography – Richard Demarco

    Richard Demarco’s black and white photographs of Stonypath from the dawn of the seventies onwards. Stonypath, 1970, probably top pond.

  • Harry Gilonis – Intimate Lettering – Ian Hamilton Finlay in Bristol (2013)

    Transcription of a talk given at St George’s, Bristol by Harry Gilonis as part of the Arnolfini Gallery’s ‘Ian Hamilton Finlay Weekend’ in August 2013. Photographs taken by Patrick Eyres

  • Patrick Eyres – The Hortus Conclusus at Little Sparta

    First published in the Garden History Society’s GHS News in 2009, this article by Patrick Eyres describes the context, conception and posthumous completion of the Hortus Conclusus – Ian Hamilton

  • A people’s Arcadia: the public gardens of Ian Hamilton Finlay in relation to Little Sparta

    Written by Patrick Eyres, and reproduced with the kind permission of the editor, John Dixon Hunt, from Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, vol. 29, nos. 1

  • Ian Hamilton Finlay by Duncan Macmillan

    Article written for the Lyon & Turnbull in-house magazine ‘Perspective’ by Dr. Duncan Macmillan following the death of Ian Hamilton Finlay in 2006. Published in January 2007. FinlayDuncanMacmillan

  • Stephen Bann – A Description of Stonypath, 1981

    bannDescription During the late 1970s, Ian Hamilton Finlay became increasingly interested in the gardens created by English eighteenth-century poets. In particular, he admired the example of William Shenstone, whose garden

  • Sue Finlay – The Planting of a Hillside Garden

    From Patrick Eyres’ New Arcadian Journal (No 61/62, 2007), here’s a fascinating article in which Sue Finlay tells, in her own words, how she experienced the beginnings of the garden

  • 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

  • Obituary: Ian Hamilton Finlay, 1925-2006

    by Dr Patrick Eyres. IHF Obituary Originally published in Sculpture Journal 16.1 [2007].

  • Obituary: Ian Hamilton Finlay, 1925-2006

    by Tom Lubbock. Poet and conceptual artist who created in ‘Little Sparta’ a revolutionary idea of what a garden might be The Independent, Wednesday 29 March 2006 00:00   Ian