Barry Flanagan

Cob Study


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Barry Flanagan 1941–2009
Etching on paper
Image: 216 × 153 mm
Presented by Sue Flanagan, the artist's former wife 1985

Catalogue entry

This catalogue entry discusses a group of works; details of the individual work are given at the end of the introductory text.

Barry Flanagan born 1941

P02723 - P02834 Group of 112 etchings and linocuts, various sizes. Presented by the artist’s former wife Sue Flanagan 1985

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.

P02827 Cob Study 1983

Etching 216 x 153 (8 1/2 x 6) on cream Vélin d'Arches paper 287 x 384 (11 1/4 x 15 1/8); plate-mark 216 x 153 (8 1/2 x 6); watermark ‘ARCHES | FRANCE['infinity' symbol]' ; printed by Colin Dyer and published by Waddington Graphics; artist's proof aside from the edition of 27
Inscribed ‘Flanagan ['AP 6/7' deleted]' below image b.r.
Lit: David Brown, Barry Flanagan; Etchings and Linocuts, exh. cat., Waddington Graphics, 1984, [p.4], repr. [p.13]. Also repr: Barry Flanagan; Recent Sculpture, exh. cat., Pace Gallery, New York 1983, p.40

P02827 depicts in composite fashion both the full figure of a horse and parts of its anatomy (see also P02828, P02830, P02831 and P02833). David Brown writes of the artist's interest in horses:

The ‘Horses of San Marco' exhibition at The Royal Academy in 1979 sharpened his interest in depicting horses in all the media at his disposal. His linocuts and etchings were made with a Welsh cob as model and, for a time, the horse was brought the two miles from Stepney Green to the space outside his studio. ‘Stepney Green' in turn became the title depicting the scene outside which includes the horse, his groom and the dog ‘Buster' which frequents the foundry where Flanagan's sculptures have been made.

Flanagan began studies for a life-size bronze of a horse shortly after seeing the exhibition at the Royal Academy, and in 1983 the casting of ‘Bronze Horse' and ‘Unicorn' (repr. Pace Gallery exhibition catalogue 1983, p.34 and pp.36-7) were complete. For discussion of related prints depicting this horse, ‘Field Day' (P07935) and ‘Welsh Cob' (P07936), see Tate Gallery Acquisitions 1982-4, 1986, pp.393-4.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.333 and 355


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