Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925–2006) was a poet, gardener, moralist and neo-classical artist, whose work took many forms. Born in the Bahamas of Scottish parents, Finlay returned as a child to Scotland. Following a brief period at Glasgow School of Art, he served during the War in Germany, and subsequently worked as a shepherd in the Orkneys and later as an agricultural labourer. In the 1950s he began to write short stories and poems, and during the next decade became Britain's leading exponent of ‘concrete poetry’; later collaborating with specialist calligraphers, carvers and sculptors to create pamphlets, cards, prints to inscribe stone objects. In 1967 Finlay moved to an isolated farmhouse in Dunsyre in Lanarkshire, where he and his wife developed a modern version of the 18th-century poetic garden known as Little Sparta.
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