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Image: Josh Murfitt

A private tour with curator, Professor Stephen Bann

Jessica Lowes

Before the official opening of Beauty and Revolution: The Poetry and Art of Ian Hamilton Finlay the Ede Circle were lucky enough to have a private tour of the exhibition led by the curator Professor Stephen Bann.

The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to view Professor Bann’s private collection of poems, prints and sculptures alongside Kettle’s Yard’s permanent collection, which Finlay much admired. In many ways, the exhibition sees a return to Kettle’s Yard for Scottish poet and artist, Ian Hamilton Finlay. He first met and began to correspond with Jim Ede in the autumn of 1964. In the same year, a group of Cambridge students had started to exhibit, publish and write about his concrete poetry; one of them was the Professor Bann, who subsequently built up his extensive collection of Finlay’s works and became an internationally recognised authority on Finlay’s art.

On the evening of the exhibition opening, Professor Bann guided the Ede Circle members through the exhibition, dissecting Finlay’s distinctive visual language and drawing out his, often characteristically humorous, plays with the visual effects of words in space. With the works ranging in their themes from the world of the fishing-boat to heroes of the French Revolution, Professor Bann drew connections and offered valuable insights into Finlay’s process and practice.

It was a unique opportunity for an exclusive first look at Beauty and Revolution, as well as the chance to ask questions of Professor Bann, which the Ede Circle all agreed was a fascinating and thought-provoking experience.

Beauty and Revolution: The Poetry and Art of Ian Hamilton Finlay is open until 1 March 2015.

Please click here for more information about the Ede Circle. If you would like to join the Ede Circle please contact