These photographs were taken by Dr Patrick Eyres over many years on his frequent visits to Little Sparta. They show a range of signs and messages that have greeted the arriving visitor at different points over 25 years.
Richard Demarco Photographs (1969 - 2000s)
Richard Demarco's black and white photographs document Stonypath from the late 1960s up to a modern view of what has become 21st Century Little Sparta, including his own inscribed comments. All dates used in typed captions refer to when the photograph was taken.
Slides of Stonypath (1976)
Michel Conan took the opportunity of this 1976 visit to make the first extensive record of the garden in colour...
In 1964 (the same year that he first visited Ian Hamilton Finlay in Edinburgh), Stephen Bann also met the French artist and garden designer Bernard Lassus in Paris. Originally trained as a painter in the studio of Fernand Léger, Lassus was beginning to work simultaneously as a kinetic artist, experimenting with light and colour, and as a designer of 'ambiances', that is to say concrete environments. Some of his pioneering projects completed in the early 1970s were supported by research grants arranged through Michel Conan, who was then working for the French government's department of the environment.
Lassus's interest in the development of the garden at Stonypath was nurtured initially by photographs. He wrote a short preface to David Paterson's first full photographic record of the garden, Selected Ponds, which was published in 1975 by the West Coast Poetry Review. His first visit to Stonypath which took place on 10 July 1976, was in the company of Michel Conan and Stephen Bann.
Conan took the opportunity of this 1976 visit to make the first extensive record of the garden in colour (the photographs of Paterson and virtually all the other practitioners who had previously taken pictures under assignment from Finlay were in black and white). He also made a special effort to document such features as paths and planting, as well as focusing on the individual garden features. He returned in the early 1980s to complete his second, equally extensive, series of views.
Conan's career led him to take a Doctorate in Urbanism, and spend a period teaching at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes and the Ecole d'architecture de Paris-La Villette. His many publications have included a Dictionnaire historique de l'art des jardins. In July 1997, he began a ten year period as Director of Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, where he created an archive of works by contemporary garden designers including Lassus and Finlay.
Stephen Bann (Photograph by Bernard Lassus of Ian Hamilton Finlay, Stephen Bann, Michel Conan, Sue Finlay)
Little Sparta by Michel Conan (Early 1980s)
Michel Conan returned in the early 1980s to complete his second, equally extensive, series of views.