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Wave Rock
© Estate of Ian Hamilton Finlay

Reference URL

Wave Rock 1966

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
Much of Finlay’s work of the mid to late 1960s was inspired by the sea, as boats and fishing had been an obsession since childhood. Like the prints in which Finlay playfully conjures images using printed words, this sculpture makes his idea three-dimensional. Etched on a sheet of glass, the words mimic the images they represent with their layout being key to the meaning of the piece. Movement is suggested by the placing of the words to represent the progress of the wave as it crashes into a rocky shore. Although Finlay produced work in a variety of media, he considered himself to be essentially a poet.

Glossary Open


A form of printmaking in which a metal plate is covered with a substance called a 'ground', usually wax, into which an image is drawn with a needle. Acid is applied, eroding the areas of the plate exposed but not the areas covered by wax. The action of the acid creates lines in the metal plate that hold the ink from which a print is made when the plate is pressed against paper under pressure.

Medium/ media

The material from which an artwork is made, e.g. oil paint, bronze, paper. 'Medium' is also used for the liquid element of paint in which a colouring agent is carried. 'Mixed media' is used when an artist combines several different materials in an artwork.

Etching, Medium/ media


  • Acc. No. GMA 4294
  • Medium Sand-blasted glass, wood base
  • Size Wood: 4.00 x 47.80 x 5.10 cm; Glass: 22.80 x 47.50 x 0.50 cm
  • Credit Scottish Arts Council collection, presented 1999