Sunday, 29 June 2008

Artists' away day

This has been a really stressful week so today I took a day (0r rather an afternoon ) away from it all and John and I went and visited Little Sparta, which is only 30 minutes drive from our home. The sky looked very threatening at first but it turned into a beautiful and sunny afternoon!

Little Sparta used to be the home and garden of the artist Ian Hamilton Finlay, who was also a poet and philosopher. He died in 2006 and since then the estate has been handed over to a trust that is trying to preserve it in its entirety. In 2005 it was voted : "the nation (i.e. Scotland!)'s greatest work of art.

The gardens are only open at selected times and the entrance fee reflects the fact that it costs a lot to keep this kind of place going but oh, it was so worth the effort. The garden is a work of art and as such is copyrighted so the picture seen above is taken outside the actual estate but it gives you some idea of the beauty of the surrounding countryside, which can be seen from various viewpoints when you're in the garden.

You can see more of the garden on the Little Sparta website.

Ian Hamilton Finlay was influenced by the classical world, the French Revolution but also the Second World War and the sea (lots of boating references so John found it very interesting too!) The garden is adorned with sculpture, and also poems carved in stone and leads its visitors to contemplate about life in all its aspects.

It is a very substantial place and the fact that you have to walk for about half a mile from the car park also helps to maintain the peace and quiet. If you are interested in the philosophy behind the garden, there is a wonderful book available about it with stunning photography:

I'm sure I will be back!!

1 comment:

Lenna Andrews said...

SO very beautiful and tempting of a visit! As always, thank you for sharing photos of your countryside, Frieda. Don't you find a walk outside such a tonic? Green leaves, grasses and flowers are all so invigorating I think : ) lenna


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