Beryl Cook,(Sept. 10, 1926 – May 28, 2008) was an English artist best known for her original and instantly recognizable paintings of people enjoying themselves in pubs, girls shopping or out on a hen night, drag shows or a family picnicking by the seaside or abroad – tangoing in Buenos Aires or gambling in Las Vegas. She had no formal training and did not take up painting until middle age.
Cook went to Kendrick Grammar School in Reading, Berkshire. She was a shy and private person, often depicting the flamboyant and extrovert characters she would like to be. She had an almost photographic memory.
Cook started painting when living in Southern Rhodesia with her husband and young son, and continued to paint on returning to England during the 1960s, but only began to sell her work in the mid 1970s. She painted local scenes, and found new material for her work while travelling, depicting Buenos Aires, New York, Cuba, Paris and Barcelona.
Cook admired the work of the English visionary artist Stanley Spencer,his influence evident in her compositions and bold bulky figures, as well as several of her pictures depicting a similarly religious aspect, such as Noah, the Virgin and Jonah and the whale. Another influence was Edward Burra, although, unlike Burra, she did not paint the sinister aspects of scenes. She was described by Victoria Wood as “Rubens with jokes”.
Medium: Museum Quality Prints
These are a few of Beryl Cook’s pieces -please click the thumbnail for a larger view.