TP Flanagan Collection: Major new exhibition opens at Fermanagh County Museum, Enniskillen Castle

22nd February 2022

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Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is delighted to confirm that the most significant public art collection of TP Flanagan’s work now belongs to his native county, Fermanagh, in recognition of the artist’s wishes.

This unique collection, recently enhanced by a major new acquisition of paintings, was officially launched for the first time at Fermanagh County Museum, Enniskillen on Monday 21 February 2022.

One of the leading artists of his generation, TP Flanagan (1929-2011), was born and grew up in Enniskillen.  The lake-lands of Fermanagh provided a continuous source inspiration throughout the artist’s career. This exhibition highlights the range of themes in TP Flanagan’s work including Lissadell and Castle Coole to important paintings relating to ‘The Troubles’.  The exhibition provides a fascinating insight into the creativity behind the finished works with sketchbooks, letters and photographs on display, kindly donated to Fermanagh County Museum by the artist’s family.

Fermanagh County Museum is delighted to have been able to acquire, interpret and display the TP Flanagan Collection for Fermanagh for people locally, nationally and internationally to enjoy and appreciate the work of an artist described by DR S B Kennedy, formerly Head of Art at the Ulster Museum, as ‘one of the most important landscapists working in Ireland in the second half of the twentieth century and in the early years of the twenty-first century.’

Speaking about the TP Flanagan exhibition, the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Errol Thompson said;

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is delighted to have acquired this wonderful collection of works by one of the district’s most distinguished artists, TP Flanagan.  We are extremely grateful to the Flanagan family, as well as our funders, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Art Fund, and the Friends of Fermanagh County Museum whose support was central to securing the collection for his native county.

The Council is committed to making art more accessible to local people and we are fortunate that, in Fermanagh County Museum at Enniskillen Castle, we have a purpose built venue in Enniskillen which can showcase this superb collection of works in such a fitting manner.

I am confident that this collection will prove to be an excellent asset not only for the Museum but for both locals and visitors alike.”

The TP Flanagan Collection represents a huge resource for visitors, schools, students and academics alike. Assisting with the exhibition and work on the TP Flanagan Collection has been Ulster University postgraduate student, Claire Browne:

Postgraduate student Claire Browne said:

“As part of the MA in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies which I am undertaking with Ulster University, I was fortunate to be offered a placement with Fermanagh County Museum. One of the joys of working on an archive of this scope, is the ability to follow the artist’s creative process from the initial photographs and preliminary sketches, through to his finished works. Having the opportunity to work on the T.P. Flanagan Collection is a rare and unique privilege.”

Professor Elizabeth Crooke, Course Director MA Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, Ulster University emphasised the opportunity of working with such a unique collection and archive:

“This is a fantastic placement opportunity for a postgraduate student on the Ulster University MA Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies. Not only is the course content brought alive in the museum setting, but Claire is getting invaluable experience alongside skilled and generous professionals. It is very special for Claire to work with the studio archive of TP Flanagan, this is a collection of national importance and we are delighted that Claire is part of the team preparing it for exhibition in 2022. We look forward to seeing her learning from the MA programme evident in the new displays.”