Beryl Cook was born in 1926 Surrey, and was one of four sisters. With no formal art education, Beryl left school at 14 to train as a typist, and then upon moving to London in 1943 became a showgirl in the touring production 'The Gypsy Princess'. Beryl Cook also worked in the fashion industry, which inspired her life-long interest in the way people dress and how they look.
When Beryl Cook's paintings were first published as both Originals and Limited editions, there was very little market for humorous paintings, and it was hard to persuade some galleries to stock her work. However, Beryl Cook's work became extremely popular, with her first Exhibition at London's Portal Gallery being a sell-out. Popular acclaim has been accompanied by serious critical appreciation, most notably with the inclusion of her paintings in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool where she was seen in the context of mainstream contemporary art.
The key to Beryl Cook's work is of course her sense of humour, the more outrageous someone looks or behaves, the more she wants to paint them. Beryl Cook's paintings are particularly appealing because of her directness, exuberance and the instant laughter that her paintings create. In this way Beryl Cook paints solely for herself, if a subject or incident amuses her or captures her imagination she will paint it. Beryl records in minute detail scenes of everyday life and has an almost photographic memory. She paints on large canvases using Oil on Panel to recreate the overweight, jovial characters which are bursting with personalities from under their huge coats or skimpy underwear. Beryl Cooks work has been widely used in greeting cards and limited edition prints, finding many followers who love the realistic traits of the larger-than-life subjects.
Beryl has travelled considerably, gleaning new material for her work. The early local scenes have expanded to Buenos Aires, New York, Cuba, Paris and Barcelona. Beryl Cook died on the 28th of May 2008 at the age of 81 in Plymouth with her husband and her son. Since Beryl's death her paintings have become even more sought after and her work is proving to be the most popular on our site, her limited edition prints, Originals and also open editions are a great investment opportunity.