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Finger of a Frenchman

Kinloch, David (2011) Finger of a Frenchman. Carcanet. ISBN 9781847770745

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Abstract

Finger of a Frenchman explores looking, and writing about looking: looking at surfaces and beyond them, at what is depicted and what is hidden in shadow, at how a transient chemistry of light may be fixed in colour and words. Kinloch’s poems are portraits of artists and reflections on art through five centuries of the artistic bond between Scotland and France. John Acheson, Master of the Scottish Mint, takes Mary, Queen of Scots’ portrait for the Scottish coinage, Esther Inglis paints the first self-portrait by a Scottish artist; Jean-Jacques Rousseau ticks off his portrait painter, Allan Ramsay, and Eugene Delacroix offers David Wilkie a brace of partridge for tea in Kensington. The Glasgow Boys, the Scottish Colourists and Charles Rennie Mackintosh bring the gallery into the twentieth century, where Kinloch considers the hybrid art of figures such as Ian Hamilton Finlay, Alison Watt and Douglas Gordon in analytical prose-poems. In the book’s second part, a mini-epic of a seventeenth-century priest’s Grand Tour offers a reflection on the nature of Collection itself, whether of paintings or poems, the composing of fragments into a whole.