Atlantic Flowers: The Naval Memorials of Little Sparta

Atlantic Flowers: The Naval Memorials of Little Sparta


NAJ 77/78 (2022), A5 book, 228 pages, 204 illustrations

The upland garden of Little Sparta is evocative of distant seas. Atlantic Flowers offers fresh insights into the poetic gardening of Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) by acknowledging that the warship sculptures are simultaneously naval memorials. These comprise about a tenth of the garden’s 280 artworks, which elaborate the poet’s rich treasury of ideas. Dr Patrick Eyres explores the consistency of this little known, understated and almost private, elegiac theme from the initial memorial to HMS Illustrious (1972), to the cluster of artworks (1999-2001) that culminate in the monumental Camouflaged Flowers. This epic composition of garden and landscape, planting and sculpture, weather and seasons, commemorates the Flower Class corvettes of the Battle of the Atlantic (1939-1945).

Atlantic Flowers was realised through the generous permission granted by the Ian Hamilton Finlay Estate to reproduce copyright material.

Plinius, some LANDSCAPES, 7 May 2023 (extract). “It sound like quite a specialised study but the pleasure of reading the journal (essentially a beautifully illustrated book), is that it conveys a lifetime’s engagement with the garden as a whole and Patrick Eyres’ long friendship with Finlay … Photographs show how garden features have evolved over time, since Patrick’s first visit in 1979. Paintings, drawings and artworks are reproduced on almost every page, based on the work of Finlay and NAJ collaborators and friends like Chris Broughton, Catherine Aldred and former-Mekon Kevin Lycett”.

For details, see Description below



Catherine Aldred, Chris Broughton, Howard Eaglestone, Patrick Eyres, Kevin Lycett and Andrew Naylor, and collaborators of Ian Hamilton Finlay, including Ian Appleton, Ron Costley, Gary Hincks, Jo Hincks and many others, all of whom are acknowledged in the NAJ

Texts by Patrick Eyres

I. In Remembrance of Workboats and Warships

    • ~ Maritime Elegies and the English Landscape Garden, 1968-1978
    • ~ The Peterhead Power Station Projects, 1978
    • ~ The Memorial to HMS Illustrious, 1972
    • ~ Homage to the Villa D’Este and the Roman Garden, 1972-1976
    • ~ Heroic Emblems and the Battle of Midway, 1974-1992

II. Neoclassicism on Active Service, Revisited

    • ~ Proposals and Pastoral Commissions, 1979-1992
    • ~ Sheffield: A Falkland Memorial, 1986-1992
    • ~ Aerial Eyecatchers: Hercules and the F-111
    • ~ The Georgian Naval Monuments of Stowe
    • ~ The Fateful Voyages of the Emden and the Graf Spee

III. Atlantic Flowers: The Naval Memorials of Little Sparta

    • ~ Tragedies of the Dido Class Cruisers, 1999
    • ~ Atlantic Flowers: Printed Works, 1977-1999
    • ~ The Flowers Wall Plaques, 1999-2001
    • ~ The Flowers Obelisk, 2000
    • ~ Camouflaged Flowers, 2001

Appendix 1

    • ~ The Stoker, the Midshipman and the Marine Engineer

Appendix 2

    • ~ Bibliography of New Arcadian Press publications with, or about, LittleSparta and Ian Hamilton Finlay

Appendix 3

    • ~ Select Bibliography of articles by Patrick Eyres about Little Sparta and Ian Hamilton Finlay