Barry Flanagan was born in Prestatyn, North Wales in 1941. He studied at Birmingham College of Art and Crafts (1957-1958) before going on to St. Martin's School of Art in London in 1964. Flanagan graduated in 1966 and went on to teach at St. Martin's School of Art and the Central School of Arts and Crafts (1967-1971).
Flanagan represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1982. A major retrospective of his work was held at the Fundación 'La Caixa' Madrid in 1993, touring to the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes in 1994. Flanagan's bronze hares have also been exhibited in many outdoor spaces, most notably on Park Avenue in New York in 1995-6 and at Grant Park, Chicago in 1996. In 1999, he had a solo exhibition at Galerie Xavier Hufkens in Brussels followed by an exhibition at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool (2000). In 2002, a major exhibition of his work was shown at the Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Germany, and toured to the Musee d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, Nice. In 2006, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and the Irish Museum of Modern Art held a major retrospective of his work which included an exhibition of large scale sculptures on O'Connell street. Barry Flanagan died in August 2009.
In April 2011, Galerie Lelong, Paris opened Barry Flanagan: Chevaux et compagnie, touring to Galerie Lelong, Zurich, and in September, a major survey of Flanagan's early work up to 1982 opened at Tate Britain, London. Also in 2011, Silâns, a collection of articles written by Barry Flanagan, Alistair Jackson and Rudy Leenders, during their time at St Martin's School of Art in 1964–1965, is published.