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.
P02789 The Wren's Nest
1972, pub. 1983
Etching 200 x 250 (7 7/8 x 9 7/8) on cream Vélin d'Arches paper 287 x 377 (11 1/4 x 14 7/8); plate-mark 200 x 250 (7 7/8 x 9 7/8); printed by Colin Dyer 1983 and published by Waddington Graphics; artist's proof aside from the edition of 77
Not inscribed; stamped with the artist's monogram ‘f' below image b.r.
Lit: David Brown, Barry Flanagan Etchings and Linocuts, exh. cat., Waddington Graphics, 1984, [p.4], repr. [p.24] (col.); [Elizabeth Knowles (ed.)], Barry Flanagan Prints 1970-1983, exh. cat., Tate Gallery, 1986, p.29. Also repr: Sixties and Seventies: Prints and Drawings by Barry Flanagan, exh. cat., Mostyn Art Gallery, 1981, p.2
This print depicts the interior of a potting shed in the garden of a friend of the artist, Ruth Harris, in Oxfordshire. Flanagan was then staying in a nearby cottage rented by David and Celia Plunkett (Celia Plunkett worked at the Rowan Gallery who represented Flanagan at that time). Flanagan noticed that a wren had nested in the pocket of an old jacket that had been hanging in the shed for some years and recorded the scene in this etching.
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.333 and 348