Beryl Cook was one of Britain’s most popular artists. Her work, featuring large women on girls’ nights out or often dressed in saucy underwear, is instantly recognisable.
These exuberant, humorous paintings follow in the British tradition of the saucy seaside postcard, although the works also show the influence of the late paintings of British artist Stanley Spencer.
Cook received no formal artistic training. She left school at 14 and worked in a variety of jobs. She took up painting when she was in her 40s, after borrowing her son’s poster paints. In 1975 she had her first exhibition in her home town of Plymouth. This prompted widespread media interest in her as a naïve artist. But although Cook maintained a popular profile, she never gained full acceptance in the art world.
Strip Poker, 2006, which features four semi-clad poker players, is a typical example of Cook’s brightly coloured, cartoon-like paintings.