This catalogue entry discusses a group of works; details of the individual work are given at the end of the introductory text.
This group of prints represents nearly the entire printed output of the artist up to 1983 and is one of the largest public collections of his prints. The titles were all given by the artist. Those prints bearing the stamped monogram ‘f’ were stamped by the Tate Gallery at the artist’s request.
The artist has said that print-making represents for him a ‘traditional pursuit’. Flanagan began to make prints in 1970. His prints (and drawings) often have a very personal content and can be seen as akin to private memoranda. Sometimes used as gifts for friends, they record aspects of the artist’s personal life. He first published prints with the Rowan Gallery in 1972, a year in which his print-making was prolific. Thereafter he published series of prints with Bernard Jacobson Gallery in 1976 and Waddington Graphics in 1983.
In 1981 Flanagan exhibited a comprehensive range of his prints and drawings at the Mostyn Art Gallery, Llandudno. The exhibition travelled to Mold, Cardiff, Swansea, Southampton and London and then, in 1983, toured in Italy, France and Holland. In the early 1980s Colin Dyer, working with the artist in his studio, completed archival sets of prints using cream Vélin d’Arches paper. Those etchings in the Sue Flanagan donation printed on white paper are generally those which the artist printed at Petersburg Press, at Burleighfield Press (with David Harding) or in his own studio in the early and mid 1970s.
Many of the prints have a small dark rectangle at one of their edges which results from the etching process. David Brown explains:
In the preparation of etching plates, they are ‘smoked’ in a flame to produce a fine, even covering of wax, the plate being held by a pair of tongs and therefore unaffected by the ‘smoking’ process would be waxed later, but with these prints, Flanagan chose to eliminate this final stage leaving a small area etched by acid and absorbing the ink (Barry Flanagan: Etchings and Linocuts, exh. cat., Waddington Graphics 1984, [p.3]).
So characteristic of Flanagan’s etchings is this black mark, it can almost be seen as a second ‘signature’.
These entries are based on conversations with Sue Flanagan and Colin Dyer and have been approved by the artist.
P02739 At the Goslings
Etching and aquatint 176 x 252 (6 7/8 x 9 7/8) on Saunders paper 299 x 389 (11 3/4 x 15 3/8); plate-mark 176 x 252 (6 7/8 x 9 7/8); watermark ‘T H SAUN[DERS]'; not editioned
Not inscribed; stamped with the artist's monogram ‘f' below image b.r.
The identity of the figures and the occasion of the scene depicted in P02739 are unknown. At the left of the image a man and woman appear to be throwing away the contents of their glasses. The two lampshades near the top of the image spotlight miniature scenes involving other figures. The bell-shaped areas of light they cast echo the brightness of the sun-burst scene depicted on the hexagonal table near the centre of the image. The figure at the lower right of the image faces the viewer although his body is turned the other way.
Entitled ‘At the Goslings' the print is based upon memories of an evening spent with Nigel and Maud Gosling, close friends of the artist in this period (see also P02766
and P02767). An art critic for the Observer, Nigel Gosling reviewed exhibitions of Flanagan's work in the late 1960s and early 1970s. His wife, Maud Gosling, had been a ballet dancer. In this period Flanagan was actively interested in dance. In 1972 he won a grant from the Gulbenkian Foundation to work with the ballet group ‘Strider', for which he choreographed two works (see also ‘Richard Alston', P02774), and in the autumn of that year he took dance lessons with Carolyn Carlson at ‘The Place' in London.
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.333 and 338