Artist’s Palate: Sean Scully’s pancakes

Flip through Irish-born artist Sean Scully's dynamic pancake recipe, as featured in our monthly Artist’s Palate feature

Sean Scully Wallpaper* Artist's Palate Pancakes January 2021
Food and set design: Niklas Hansen. ‘Loochtootoo’ kitchen ladle, £35, by Philippe Starck, for Alessi. ‘Bernadotte’ salt shaker, €60 with pepper shaker, by Georg Jensen
(Image credit: Gustav Almestål)

Sean Scully has spent the last six decades fusing spirituality with abstraction, creating grids, stripes and bold stacks of colour. When the Irish-born artist proposed pancakes for our recipe series, we instantly imagined a stack, but as he explains, ‘I could make a stack, like one of my sculptures or paintings. But the family is eagerly waiting, so take them as they come, with maple syrup for the kids and jam for the adults.’ He has his pancake production down to a fine art, creating them a few times a week for his wife and eleven-year-old son. For Scully, giving a pancake enough airtime before serving is crucial because it excites the recipient. ‘If you can flip it over a couple of times in the air, you’re a master.’


1 organic egg 
4 loaded tsp organic gluten-free flour 
Organic grass-fed whole milk 
Coconut oil, for frying


Mix the egg and flour in a mug and leave it for a few minutes. Then stir in some milk. I make it thinner than most people because I want the pancake to be thin and delicate (you will have to play with amounts). Put coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan (not too much, about one teaspoon), then heat it over a medium heat. Pour in the pancake mix so it makes a nice, even puddle. After a few minutes, it should be solid enough to flip over with a wooden skillet. Then, here’s the artistic part, it should slide around, nice and loose, in the pan. This means it’s ready to be flipped. This is very important because it dries the pancake and gives it air. Plus, it excites the client. If you can flip it over a couple of times in the air, you’re a master.

Sean Scully’s pancake flipping in action, filmed in April 2020. Video courtesy of Sean Scully Studio


This article appears in the January 2021 issue of Wallpaper* (W*261) – on newsstands now and available for free download here

‘Sean Scully: Passenger’, until 15 January 2021, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest.

The artist will stage his first show with Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris in Spring 2021.

Harriet Lloyd-Smith was the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.

With contributions from