Ian Appleton, founding trustee of Little Sparta.


The Little Sparta Trust is sad to hear of the death on 24th April of Ian Appleton, a formative influence on the history and development of Little Sparta, and an architect of great distinction.

Ian was a friend,  collaborator and supporter of  Ian Hamilton Finlay, during the period when he and his wife Sue were creating Little Sparta. He had known Finlay since the 1960s and collaborated with him on several projects, where his fine gift for sketching and visualisation of Ian’s ideas came into play. In 1995, he became the first chairman of the Trust, at the time of his formation, when Finlay had decided to gift the garden and its contents to a new body which would be responsible for its maintenance and upkeep. Appointed initially for a year, he continued for six years before handing over to the current chairman, Magnus Linklater. He continued as Trustee and Treasurer thereafter, until illness dictated his retirement.

Paying tribute to his contribution over more than 50 years, Magnus Linklater said: “Ian’s love of the garden and its art, his understanding of the principles that formed it, and his wise advice to me and my fellow trustees, were invaluable. Even after his retirement he continued to take the closest interest in Little Sparta, and to offer support. He will be greatly missed, not only by us,  but by all those who understand the importance of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s work.

It is with great gratitude and humility that we understand that he and his wife Marjorie, who worked with him in partnership for 37 years, and to whom Ian was married for  50 years, have decided that, instead of flowers, they would ask all who remember Ian to donate instead to the Little Sparta Trust.