On a trip to Italy Barry visited a museum full of Etruscan artifacts where he made many drawings. These drawings formed the basis for the book. It was the intention for the Museum of Modern Art Oxford to publish it in 1974 when Flanagan had a drawing exhibition at the museum. The exhibition was the fullest survey of his drawings to date and included early schematic works, diagrams, drawings of dancers at the Ballet Rambert as well as drawings of the Etruscan artifacts and local landscape.
They dated from 1966 to 1974. The publication of somethings Etruscan, was unrealized owing to production difficulties. David Plante and Barry Flanagan both had proof copies in their archive, from these it was possible to make the new publication, completed with an afterword by Nicholas Serota, who had organized the original drawing exhibition at MOMA Oxford in 1974.
In 2011 Tate publications agreed to publish somethings Etruscan. It is an innovative collaboration between artist and poet working around drawings of Etruscan artifacts and is both a book of lyrical poetry and an artist’s book. It shows how discourse flows between artist and poet to create interconnectivity between the object, the drawing and the story telling in the writing. The poet speaks about the object’s nature and the artist shows the object’s character through his hand. It provides insight into the methods of practice, engagement and collaboration as an ongoing exchange process and part of this process is when an artist engages with and responds to ancient civilization and takes this dialogue into a contemporary context.