Barraclough was born in Madrid to a Spanish mother and Yorkshire father who founded Madrid's Chamber of Commerce and of a Catalan mother. He moved to London with his family in the 1930s as a refugee from Francoist Spain. He taught fine art and sculpture at Rugby School, where colleagues considered him "highly entertaining, a most unorthodox and highly gifted" teacher. He established himself during the 1960s and early 1970s as an authority on sculpture, publishing in academic journals and becoming a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. In 1974, Barraclough was appointed to a three-year contract as professor of fine arts at the University of the Witwatersrand. some colleagues there did not think well of his work, and he was transferred to a job at an associated gallery.
In 2000, it was revealed that Barraclough, while outwardly living the life of anti-apartheid activist since the 1970s, had been a paid informant of the South African state security police. The media was used to promote his image as a "brilliant, liberal artist with apparently impeccable credentials" in order to gain public trust, while he was funneling money from anti-apartheid groups to the police.
- "Barraclough Valls, Fabio". Museo Reina Sofia. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
- "Apartheid's spy hiding in Spain". The Guardian. 6 February 2000. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
- Snow, Philip (1998). A Time of Renewal: Clusters of Characters, C.P. Snow, and Coups. The Radcliffe Press. p. 172. ISBN 1-86064-149-0.
- "Book needed to do full justice here" (PDF). The Citizen. 3 October 1977. p. 16. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
- Barraclough Valls, Fabio. "Fabio Barraclough Valls writes on his early life and his involvement with the Queen Mary panel commission" (PDF). Retrieved 26 May 2018.
- "Dame Barbara Hepworth: Four-Square Walk Through". Tate Museum. Retrieved 2009-01-16. External link in
- "Contradiction and Blaszko's Sensuality". Martin Blaszko.com. 1968. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2009-01-16. External link in
- Bell, Terry; Ntsebeza, Dumisa Buhle (2003). Unfinished Business: South Africa, Apartheid, and Truth. Verso. p. 103. ISBN 1-85984-545-2.
- Bundy, Colin (30 January 2004). "Lancing boils on the body politic". The Times Higher Education Supplement. Retrieved 16 January 2009.
- "Lancing boils on the body politic". Times Higher Education. 30 January 2004. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
- Bell, Terry (7 March 2011). "Operation Daisy and the art prof spy". Terry Bell Writes. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
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