This is one of the artworks bought for the Parliament on the recommendation of the Art Group set up as the building was nearing completion . I think I am the only MSP who was on the group still in the Parliament and this still gives me pleasure whenever I pass it by.
It is by Iain Hamilton Finlay , with Peter Grant, and it hangs beside the stairs to the Chamber Public Gallery.
The description on the Parliament’s Website provides what little explaination is needed :
“This work is an abstract construction of a coble, a type of flat-bottomed fishing boat made by joining overlapping planks of wood. Although it is an abstraction and the registration letters are distorted, the title ‘coble’, a pun on the word ‘cobble’, one meaning of which is ‘to build clumsily’, holds together the meaning of the work as a depiction of a ‘real’ boat. The distortion of the fishing registration 'WY 149' adds to the sense of abstraction.”
(I suppose I should have a corrections policy on my journal , given the recent legislative changes. Anyway, I have not really needed one , bar minor spelling glitches, until now. However a constituent whom I have known for a long time sent me the following this morning, from his sister who was a friend of the artist. I am happy to include it as it increases the knowledge of, and views on, this piece that always inspires me. And perhaps the Parliament will amend its description :
Two things about IHF -
1. – IHF’s name is not Iain. Here is a short aide-memoire (which Ian liked when I sent it to him many years ago):
With only one I.
A man of singular vision.
2. Nothing in Ian’s work is ever accidental or careless (or indeed cobbled together) – the description of the work omits the actual name of the boat WY149 which can be found easily in Whitaker’s Almanac. The Whitby-registered SEDULOUS could be seen as an an enjoinder to the people who work in the building to be diligent and sincere in all they do. But since the literal translation is “without guile”, you can only wonder if Ian envisaged this work living somewhere else... )