(Beryl Cook – unpublished self-portrait)
It was with great sadness that I learnt the artist Beryl Cook had died on Wednesday morning the 28th May 2008, with her husband John and her son by her bedside, she was 81 years old.
Beryl Cook is undoubtedly one of the most popular British Artists of the late 20th century and the popularity of her work is absolutely huge both in the UK and worldwide.
(Beryl Cook – ‘Party Girls’)
In my experience, age, race, colour and social class have never been an issue amongst differentiating her fan base. Nearly every person I spoke to about her work found it to be funny, uplifting and appealing, with her bold, and outlandish characters usually depicting something that looked hilarious and yet it was something we recognised from our own lifes.
Her cheeky take on British life and culture have been printed into multiple formats over the last 30 years, from calendars, notebooks and postcards, to signed limited edition prints and silkscreens, she has bought smiles to the faces of countless people.
(Beryl Cook – ‘Clubbing In The Rain’)
Beryl used to quietly sit in the pub or in local cafÃ© and paint people in real life situations, always managing to capture something funny. She loved painting people laughing and enjoying themselves.
She was also awarded the OBE in 1995, something I wasnâ€™t previously aware of!
I read that Beryl Cook was actually a shy and retiring person in real life. It was though her work, painting these outrageous and larger than life personalities, that perhaps we see the type of person Beryl would have loved to have been herself.
(Beryl Cook – ‘Lady Of Marseilles’)
She lived in Plymouth and I she died peacefully there 2 days ago. My thoughts are with Berylâ€™s family and friends at this very sad time. If you find any other tributes to her, please feel free to comment.