Beryl Cook, the populist and bawdy painter of a thousand iconic fat women,died at the age of 81 today.
Jess Wilder, co-owner of London’s Portal Gallery, which shows Cook’spaintings, said: “She died peacefully this morning with her family aroundher.”
Cook was known for the vibrant, fun-loving and over-sized characters thatcavorted across her paintings but she was notoriously shy away from thecanvas. She refused to attend her exhibitions and would not even appear atBuckingham Palace in 1995 to accept an OBE.
During a rare interview to celebrate her 80th birthday, Cook told The Timesthat when she died she would like her ashes scattered in Littlewoods, thedefiantly everyday High Street clothing chain.
Her paintings were always popular with the public, but never welcomed by thecultural elite who dismissed her work as seaside postcard slapstick. None ofher works were ever added to the Tate gallery collections.
“I don’t mind in the least,” she said in 2006. “All I everwanted was for people like me to enjoy my pictures. So I don’t worry aboutthe Tate one iota.”