Beryl Cook OBE
Beryl Cook has become a household name and national treasure. Limited edition prints brimming with her extraordinary sense of humour.
The astonishing response to Beryl’s death at the age of 81 on May 28th 2008, both from the media and the general public, is a remarkable testament to her unofficial position as Britain’s favourite painter who’s lasting popularity amongst the public was in direct contrast to the dismissive view of the elitist British art establishment.
Beryl was born in 1926 in Egham, Surrey, England, one of four sisters. She left Kendrick School in Reading at the age of 15, where she went to secretarial school and then into an insurance office. After moving to London and then Hampton, Beryl eventually married her next door neighbour from Reading, John Cook. He was an officer in the Merchant Navy and after he left the sea in 1956, they bought a pub for a year before John took a job in Southern Rhodesia with a motor company.
In 1964 Beryl Cook and her husband returned to the UK. She worked in the fashion industry which inspired her interest in the way that people dress and how they look. She started painting again when she used her sons painting set . Her new hobby grew when she became the owner of a theatrical boarding house in Plymouth and started painting the eventful night life of the fishermen and sailors of the town.
Her first exhibition was in the Plymouth Art Centre in 1975. It was a huge success and grew interest in the media and the London art scene. Her inimitable style and cast of characters has led to a hugely successful career spanning four decades. She remains very modest and somewhat surprised by her success. Undoubtedly she will be remembered as a great social observer and a recorder of what people wore and how they enjoyed themselves at the end of the twentieth century.
I don't know how my pictures happen, they just do. They exist but for the life of me I can't explain them....
Popular acclaim has been accompanied by serious critical appreciation, most notably with the inclusion of her painting in the fifth Peter Moores exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool where she was seen in the context of mainstream contemporary art, alongside Bridges Riley and Victor Passmore. The new Glasgow Museum of Modern Art has also recently purchased some of her original work, ensuring her a place in the annuls of British Art. Beryl Cook continues to paint and has recently moved from Plymouth to Bristol, to be near her family.
Rare Beryl Cook prints available at Art of Illustration but not featured online include: Tango, The Baron Entertains, Jackpot, Women Running - and others. Please email for prices.
All images in this gallery copyright of their respective owners © Beryl Cook © Alexander Gallery Publications © Classic Publications Inc - no reproduction withoiut permission.
For the best prices on rare / secondary market silkscreen and litho prints by Beryl Cook, please email Julian Thomas at email@example.com
Line Dancing - Silkscreen
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