Little Sparta in new ECA partnership

A spectacular garden created by one of Scotland’s best-loved artists is at the centre of a new partnership with the University.

Little Sparta, created by Ian Hamilton Finlay, is recognised as one of Scotland’s cultural jewels and the artist’s greatest work.

It contains more than 275 artworks, and has been heralded as the most original garden created in Britain since World War Two.

The new partnership will aim to celebrate and preserve the landscape and encourage research into Hamilton Finlay’s work.

This partnership with two of Scotland’s most important cultural institutions places Little Sparta where it belongs – at the heart of Scotland’s cultural heritage.

Magnus LinklaterChairman of the Little Sparta Trust

Ministerial visit

Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop visited the iconic garden to mark the partnership.

The visit comes on the 20th anniversary of the artist’s gift of the garden and its artworks to the Little Sparta Trust, which maintains the estate.

Opportunities for students

As part of the partnership, the University has already recreated Hamilton Finlay’s library and installed a study centre in his home.

It will seek to develop new courses and encourage more research into Finlay’s works.

A Masters degree programme, Cultural Landscapes, has been launched which examines the relationships between people and the landscapes they inhabit.

Students will have access to Little Sparta to study how Finlay incorporated the landscape in his art.

We are delighted at the prospect of strengthening our relationship with Little Sparta through these exciting research and teaching collaborations. Ian Hamilton Finlay's legacy is profound and wide reaching, with relevance for future scholars and students across the fields of art history, contemporary art practice, landscape architecture, politics, literature, classics and history.

Professor Chris BrewardPrincipal of Edinburgh College of Art

Important archive

National Galleries Scotland (NGS) holds significant items from Hamilton Finlay’s work, including important archive material.

The artist is also represented in the Artist Rooms collection, jointly owned by NGS and Tate.

NGS hopes to work with the University, Little Sparta Trust and others to create an internationally significant study resource.

Little Sparta is one of the most important modern artworks in Scotland and by far the best place to experience Finlay’s work and ideas. The National Galleries are delighted to be working with the Little Sparta Trust and the University of Edinburgh to create new opportunities for the study of Finlay and his legacy.

Sir John LeightonDirector General of the National Galleries of Scotland