Artist Beryl Cook says that fat people seem to have more fun. “They fill up the page so I don’t have to do a background”. Beryl Cook has become one of the most popular and best loved of British artists. The colour. wit. vulgarity and sheer fun of her subjects have caught the imaginations of Britons and Americans alike.
She was born in 1926 in Surrey. England. one of four sisters. She left school. where she had shown little talent for painting. at the age of fourteen.
She left London in 1946 and married John. a childhood friend who was in the merchant Navy. The Cooks eventually moved to Plymouth. where in the summer months they ran a busy theatrical boarding house. Beryl loved Plymouth. a thriving. lively seaside town full of pubs. fishermen and sailors a myriad of interesting characters.
Cook would concentrate on painting in the winter months. and was eventually persuaded by an antique dealer friend to let him try to sell a few of her paintings. To her surprise he sold them very quickly. Plymouth Art Centre came to hear about this local phenomenon and persuaded Beryl. with some difficulty. to have an exhibition.
Her exhibition in Plymouth was enormously successful. Her paintings so full of life and humour and thoroughly unpretentious were immediately appealing to people – they made them laugh.