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Beryl Cook was born in 1926 in Surrey, England, one of four sisters. She left school at fourteen, showing little talent for painting and worked in a variety of jobs.
Moving to London in 1943 Beryl became a showgirl in a touring production of The Gypsy Princess. She also worked in the fashion industry, which inspired her life-long interest in the way people dress and how they look.
Her work is particularly interesting when viewed in the context of the tradition of British social realist painting and she could easily be described as a contemporary Hogarth or Gilray, although she has a more sympathetic view of the human race. She is like those painters above all a social observer. She recorded human frailties and the absurdities of human behaviour with her own unique vision.
In 1995 Beryl was made an OBE.