Barry Flanagan

Field Day


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Barry Flanagan 1941–2009
Etching on paper
Image: 184 × 216 mm
Purchased 1983

Catalogue entry

P07935 Field Day 1983

Etching 7 1/4 × 9 1/2 (184 × 216) on Velin Arches paper 11 1/4 × 15 (285 × 381), printed by the artist and Colin Dyer, published by Waddington Graphics
Inscribed ‘B F’ b.r. and ‘47/75’; impressed with the publisher's stamp
Purchased from Waddington Galleries (Grant-in-Aid) 1983
Lit: David Brown, Barry Flanagan Etchings and Linocuts, exhibition catalogue, Waddington Galleries, May 1984 (n.p. repr.)

The following entry is based on a conversation between the artist and the compiler held on 21 August 1985 and has been approved by the artist.

‘Field Day’ is one of a series of four etchings and three linocuts all drawn before the model. They are ‘Stepney Green’, ‘Mule’, ‘Cob Study’, ‘Field Day’, ‘Welsh Lights’ and ‘Ganymede’ all dated 1983. Flanagan hired the horse for one day and had it brought to the yard outside his studio. In conversation with the compiler he stated: ‘I called it “Field Day” because the drawing has a beautiful form to it. It has fluency and composure. That's reminiscent of racing and one can have a field day in the sense of an enjoyable event. Calling it “Field Day” was like naming the horse.’

The black rectangle at the bottom of the plate mark results from the etching process. David Brown writes

In the preparation of the 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. Normally the area covered by the 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.

The image was etched without any preliminary studies. The fluency of the line results from Flanagan's general approach to printmaking. He stated that ‘the sculptor's line is often gestural’.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986


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