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Note to Researchers

The Barry Flanagan Estate aims to provide the resources needed by researchers to explore Flanagan’s artistic practice and its contributions to visual culture. These resources continue to be widely used for the development of exhibitions, publications and essays.

Origin

Conceived by Flanagan and begun during his lifetime, the archive and library was given to the Estate of Barry Flanagan in 2009. It was then that the sorting process began, putting it into the order that it is in today.

Early discussions between Barry Flanagan and Jo Melvin, Director of the Estate, underpin the archive and the original website’s structure, which went live in June 2012:

“Key considerations… over the formation of the project was to develop a systematic representation of interconnectivity: from notation and documentation (in some cases these are denoted thought processes, e.g. diagrams, doodles, drafts from an artwork’s inception and planning) to its realisation and subsequent exhibition. The plan to link artwork records to archival materials emerged from these discussions.”
(Melvin, J (2015). black holes and the digital dot: barryflanagan.com. art libraries journal, Volume 40 (2), p 34- 4.)

Interconnectivity is at the heart of the website and the unique collection of papers, spanning the whole of Flanagan’s career from the late 1950s to 2009, provide a broad contextual backdrop to the artist’s work. This mixture of sketchbooks, diaries, correspondence, writings, photographs and casting records are intended to be used by researchers as a springboard.

Visit our themes section for examples of how our archive records interconnect.

Our database has been developed with reference to best practices used in catalogue raisonnés and the International Council on Archives (ICA) General International Standard Archival Description ISAD(G), Second Edition. This internal database is used as a content management system for this website.

Further details on our website and archives conception can be found in All This Stuff. Archiving the Artist 2013 & the Arts library Journal 2015

The resources are intended to be used by researchers & students as a springboard for their research.

View the Library
View the Library
View the Archive
View the Archive

Find the archive files and books you would like to go view in more detail as is possible online and apply for your visit

Archive file entries are arranged to maintain the order set up by Flanagan. They were arranged chronologically by category. The principal categories called series are:

The material in the archive includes sketches, plans for sculptures, writings, notebooks, photographs, source material and printed ‘funds’ – in denominations of five, ten and fifty – used by the artist to pay his collaborators. Amongst the records are early papers and photographs dating from the 1920s given to Flanagan by his mother, Monica Flanagan.

Barry Flanagan’s diaries record appointments and note key dates. His correspondence with professional colleagues, friends and family includes planning for exhibitions, commissions and charitable works. Letters to and from Leslie Waddington, director of Waddington Galleries, demonstrate a close professional association which lasted over thirty years.

Among the papers are casting records orders and invoices. They reflect the close professional relationships he enjoyed with a number of foundries, especially A&A Sculpture Casting, London, from 1979, reformed in 1992 as AB Fine Art Foundry. Other papers relate to Rowford Process, a trade account he established in 1978 to manufacture furniture and to enable the acquisition of materials at trade price.

The archive contains records which Flanagan maintained in collaboration with The Rowan Gallery from 1966-1975 and Waddington Galleries, London, from 1976-2009. These records include logbooks which provide catalogue entries for works, along with photograph and slide files.

The Barry Flanagan archive is housed in the Estate office, in Poplar East London. We are open by appointment to researchers. Please click here to register interest and complete the application form.

The structure of an archive catalogue is hierarchical. The descriptions of records are organised in a hierarchy. A short logical sequence of opening grouped records called series will lead to the relevant file.

Desktop-the-hierarchy-v1
  • 1
    Reference number -

    each series and file have a unique number. This defines its precise location within the hierarchy and simplifies reference and navigation. The letters JBF (Barry Flanagan’s initials) precede each reference number.

  • 2
    Series Title & Date -

    it identifies the series and files and their contents and when the records were created.

  • 3
    Extent -

    outline of the extent of material within the series or file in question

  • 4
    Scope and Content -

    additional information on the series or folder, including its scope, content and access conditions.

  • 5
    No. of Entries -

    the number of files contained in a series or folder. If no number is given, the folder must e selected to view further sub-folders before a list of files can be displayed

Once you have drilled down and arrived to an an Archive file you will be able to view the available content and associated relationships to other sections of the site.

Desktop-archive-entry-relationships-01
  • 1
    Breadcrumb -

    see the location of the file or series within the archive hierarchy and easily jump to the level you want.

  • 2
    File title -

    it identifies the file and its contents

Desktop-archive-entry-relationships-02
  • 3
    Selected Scans -

    a sample of scans are selected for each archive file, if you want to see the full file then book apply for a visit to the archive.

  • 4
    Scope and Content -

    additional information on the folder, including its scope, content and access conditions.

Desktop-archive-entry-relationships-03
  • 5
    Related Archive Entries -

    this is a list of other archive entries which share a connection. It allows you to explore in greater depth the relationships which exist between archive files.

  • 6
    Other Related Records -

    This is a list of Artwork, Exhibitions and Publications which share a connection. It also helps place these files in the context of work, sketches, exhibitions and other media in the artworks section.

The Library consists of publications acquired over Barry’s lifetime for professional and personal interest. It includes an extensive collection of monographs, exhibition catalogues and other publications, including auction catalogues, periodicals, press clippings and audio/visual materials related. The Library also consists of publications acquired by the estate for further research purposes.

Acquisitions Policy

The Estate of Barry Flanagan aims to develop and maintain a comprehensive resource relating to Barry Flanagan and his work. Acquisitions for the Library and Estate Archive are undertaken in line with this goal.

The Library

Books are acquired that directly reference Barry Flanagan and his work (including exhibitions installations and performances).

These may be newly published or historical volumes, not currently held by the Estate.

The catalogues on the site represent information to the best of our knowledge, information which has been cross referenced from a variety of different sources.

Exhibitions, Media & Publications are sometimes related to a record where relevant. This means you can easily explore the context surrounding a given Artwork, Exhibition, Event, Publication, Video Audio or Archive file.

Related Exhibitions are displayed when the record in question references that exhibition. This can be useful to build a better picture of the exposure an artwork has had or to see the event that generated the content you are viewing.

Related Media & Publications are displayed when the record in question references that Video, Audio, Press or Publication. This can be useful to identify further research material about something you are interested in.

FAQs

Not sure how to use the website for your research project? Use our FAQs to find answers.

Unsure how to use the website for your research project?

Our archive and library boasts the most comprehensive collection of research materials relating to Barry Flanagan and his artistic practice. The site includes links between pages for artworks, publications, exhibitions and archive files. Related archival documentation is tied to artworks and exhibitions, while exhibited and published works are connected to shows, books and journals. This interconnectivity encourages exploration and supports countless avenues of research.

How do I find a specific artwork on the website and any related information that the Estate holds?

This website is comprised of two main sections: the ARTWORKS and the ARCHIVE. The ARTWORKS is a catalogue raisonné – a comprehensive list of works by Barry Flanagan. The Archive, found in the research tab, brings together supporting material, including the artist’s sketches, photographs, diaries and personal papers.

Both sections can be accessed several ways and are interlinked.

Search by keyword

Simply enter one or more keywords in the SEARCH field. You will be presented with a list of corresponding search results. These results can be divided by category, e.g. Archive Files, Artworks, Events, Exhibitions, Media, Posts, Press, Publications, Other. Select one of the results to view more information. The number of results available in each category will be visible in brackets.

All artwork records are displayed with any linked archive records. All connected entries will be displayed underneath the artwork details alongside related exhibitions, events, publications, and media. Alternatively, when searching a specific artwork, filters can be selected to go directly to various connected records eg. Events, Exhibitions, Media etc.

If you are interested in searching our online ARCHIVE you have two options. Either browsing using the HIERARCHY as your starting point or the INDEX.

The Hierarchy

The structure of an archive catalogue is hierarchical. This structure operates in much the same way as the folders stored on a computer, where a folder may contain one or more associated folders and files. Here the folders represent groups of records called series.

The main series are:

JBF/1  Sketches, maquettes and writings, 1965-2009

JBF/2  Diaries, 1976-2006

JBF/3   Photographic material, c.1920-2009

JBF/4  Audio visual material, 1982-2009

JBF/5  Press and printed material, 1966-2009

JBF/6  Operational papers, 1959-2009

JBF/7  Other interests and research, 1964-2008

The Index

The INDEX is a list of all the files contained within the archive catalogue. They are identical to those in the hierarchy but arranged as an alphabetised list.

What is the difference between the physical archive and the online archive?

Our physical archive is comprised of 160 boxes of sketchbooks, diaries, correspondence, writings, photographs and casting records that span the whole of Flanagan’s career from the late 1950s to 2009.  Our online archive offers access to this catalogue of records, with 2,500 scanned documents available to view.  However for various reasons not all our records are available online.  If you are interested in visiting us in person please contact us.

How do I search the online archive?

If you are interested in searching our online ARCHIVE you have two options. Either browsing using the HIERARCHY as your starting point or the INDEX.

The hierarchy

The structure of an archive catalogue is hierarchical. This structure operates in much the same way as the folders stored on a computer, where a folder may contain one or more associated folders and files. Here the folders represent groups of records called series.

The main series are:

JBF/1  Sketches, maquettes and writings, 1965-2009

JBF/2  Diaries, 1976-2006

JBF/3   Photographic material, c.1920-2009

JBF/4  Audio visual material, 1982-2009

JBF/5  Press and printed material, 1966-2009

JBF/6  Operational papers, 1959-2009

JBF/7  Other interests and research, 1964-2008

The Index

The INDEX is a list of all the files contained within the archive catalogue. They are identical to those in the hierarchy but arranged as an alphabetised list.

 

How do I search by keyword?

Simply enter one or more keywords in the SEARCH field. You will be presented with a list of corresponding search results. These results can be divided by category, e.g. Archive Files, Artworks, Events, Exhibitions, Media, Posts, Press, Publications, Other. Select one of the results to view more information. The number of results available in each category will be visible in brackets.

All artwork records are displayed with any linked archive records. All connected entries will be displayed underneath the artwork details alongside related exhibitions, events, publications, and media. Alternatively, when searching a specific artwork, filters can be selected to go directly to various connected records eg. Events, Exhibitions, Media etc.

 

How do I visit the archive?

Our archive and library are open to researchers by appointment. To make a booking click here

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