Exeter Forum Talk: The Life of Beryl Cook” by Marilyn Bishop
The Mint Methodist Church, Exeter
Before becoming such a successful artist Beryl Cook, born in 1926 in Surrey, had a wide variety of jobs including being a showgirl in a touring production of “The Gypsy Princess” and working in the fashion industry, which inspired her life-long interest in the way people dress and how they look. This is evident in her paintings of which she said ‘ I don’t know how my pictures happen, they just do. They exist, but for the life of me I can’t explain them.’ . After moving to Plymouth in 1963, where she and her husband ran a busy theatrical boarding house, she began to paint in earnest, with her first exhibition in 1975 and her first London exhibition in 1976. She recorded human frailties and the absurdities of human behaviour in detailed scenes of everyday life, much as Hogarth did in the 18th Century .
Marilyn was a Senior Lecturer in Plymouth. She worked as a Dartmoor Guide for many years, a Victim Support Counsellor for 10 years and has continued working with Cancer Research, Clic Sergeant and charities helping the needy of Ugandan, while at the same time finding time to paint, many of her paintings being available as prints in the form of cards.