Artist Beryl Cook, best known for her original and instantly recognisable paintings of chubby jovial characters, surprisingly only took up painting seriously in her forties. Beryl attended Kendrick School in Berkshire, but left education at fourteen and started to work in a variety of jobs, therefore having no formal art training. In fact, during her early life and school days Beryl showed no interest in art at all.
However there was one incident during a stay in Rhodesia that was to change Beryl’s life dramatically. It happened in 1960, when her son John was ten years old. She was trying to interest him in drawing and painting and had caught the artistic bug herself, so much so that her husband bought her a set of oil paints.
Often comical, her works pictured people whom she encountered in everyday life, including people staying at the the pubs and guest houses that the Cook family owned over the years.