Ian Hamilton Finlay

Topiary Aircraft Carrier [collaboration with Ian Gardner]

1972

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Ian Hamilton Finlay 1925–2006
Medium
Screenprint on paper
Dimensions
Image: 305 x 438 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1981
Reference
P07462

Display caption

The relationship between warfare and the apparently idyllic retreat of the garden is explored in this print, which shows a hedge elegantly cut to resemble a warship. Finlay went on to grow an actual topiary aircraft carrier in his garden at Stonypath, Scotland. The garden, which also includes numerous sculptures and poems inscribed on stone is regarded as Finlay’s most significant work. Many of the sculptures relate to the technology of war. As Finlay has said, ‘Certain gardens are described as retreats when they are really attacks’.

Gallery label, April 2005

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Catalogue entry

P07462 TOPIARY AIRCRAFT CARRIER 1972

Not inscribed
Screenprint printed at Girdwood and published by the Wild Hawthorn Press in an edition of about 400, 12×17 1/4 (30.5× 43.8)
Purchased from Coracle Press (Grant-in-Aid) 1981

Made in collaboration with Ian Gardner. Finlay later grew a topiary version of this with box in his garden at Stonypath.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984

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