15 OCTOBER 1977, Page 18

Sir: Bravo, John McEwen. Never have I read an article

in the Spectator with so much relish and deep enjoyment — it was like a blast of clean fresh air entering a putrid atmosphere — as his on Hamilton Finlay and his band of acolytes, the Scottish Arts Council and the Edinburgh an establishment, who, like the Athenians of old, ever seek seomthing new, and thinking they found that quality in the work of Hamilton Finlay, attempted to build hint up into a leading figure in Scottish contemporary art. The mumbojumbo of so many art critics is sickening and their desire to be 'with it', pitiable. Thank God, John McEwen is not one of thee'• The 'barkers' who attempted to raise Finlay's reputation stand silenced, their tails between their legs, in the knowledge that at best their master is a purveyor of middlebrow knick-knacks, at worst a sort of Morningside Ossian. How ill-served is Scotland by her cultural leaders. 'Wee bit puns and wee bit mind-blowing analogies'. Oh, most rare John! More power to his pen.

David J. Duke, Wedderburn, Kelso