1926 - 2008
Beryl was born in 1926 in Egham, Surrey, England, one of four sisters. She showed no early promise, nor did she have the benefit of any formal art training. When she eventually left Kendrick School in Reading at the age of 15, she went on to secretarial school and then into an insurance office. She married her childhood sweetheart, John, at the age of twenty. 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.
Beryl bought their young son a box of watercolours, and when showing him how to use it, she decided that she herself quite enjoyed painting. In 1964 Beryl and her husband returned to the UK settling first in Cornwall and then later in Plymouth where, during the summer months, Beryl ran a boarding house for holidaymakers on the seafront. Beryl had now been painting for a number of years, basing her pictures on her everyday observations of people around her. By 1975 she amassed numerous paintings that covered the walls of the boarding house. A friend took away a dozen or so and, to Beryl's surprise, managed to sell them all for around £10 each. Beryl was delighted and quickly increased her production. Bernard Samuels of the Plymouth Art Centre persuaded her to have her first exhibition in 1975, which was a huge success and attracted an enormous amount of attention, not least from the Sunday Times Magazine which featured her blonde barmaid on the front cover.
One year later, she held her first London exhibition at the Portal Gallery and went on to hold twelve further shows with this gallery. During the mid 1980's, Beryl Cook became a household name and national treasure, although maintaining a very modest, shy and reticent nature. When in her seventies, she continued to take great pleasure in the business of painting, for which she received an OBE. Her work was turned into an animated sitcom series for BBC television, in which her buxom, exuberant characters were brought to life by a cast including actress Dawn French. Beryl has also released a new book, 'Cruising', in which her subjects display the characteristic enthusiasm for life which earned the artist international recognition. Beryl received some serious critical acclaim, most notably with the inclusion of her paintings 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 also purchased some of her original work, ensuring her a place in the annuls of British Art.
Silkscreen ( USA known as serigraph ) prints are built up with 40 to 60 different screens, giving them their vibrant colours. The prints are numbered and editions range between 200 and 395 copies. Photolithographic prints are produced by photographing the original painting and separating into four or five colours before printing on acid free paper, using light fast inks. The prints are numbered and editions range between 650 and 850 copies.
Sadly, Beryl passed away on 28 May 2008.
Beryl's silkscreen prints are supplied by the publisher unmounted and normally sold in print only format. We normally supply all prints professionally double mounted and wrapped so that they are fully protected and ready for framing. The extra cost of purchasing in mounted form can be saved by the purchaser when framing the print.
Work By This Artist