A fine and impressive double-sided painting titled “Tango” was recently sold at Plymouth Auction Rooms. Consigned by a North of England collector, the painting was estimated at £10,000 to £15,000. Measuring 114cm by 89cm, this fantastic painting depicts an energetic couple dancing away in very much the classic style of Beryl Cook, with their strong caricature faces. The reverse of the painting is more unusual. Titled “The Expedition” is a scene showing a couple rowing a boat whilst being keenly spied on by a lion and lioness.
The painting was well contested at the auction, with it finally selling at £10,600 (making £13,144 including premium). It was bought by Juan Cabello of Parade Antiques, Plymouth, bidding in the Saleroom. The same auction featured a collection of 57 Beryl Cook signed edition prints which were consigned by the family of the original publishers, The Alexander Gallery, and shipped down from London to the Saleroom, where they were met with enthusiastic bidding raised over £8,800 altogether.
Julian Spalding wrote in the book Beryl Cook, Happy Days, 1995:
“It’s not just the faces, but the whole of Beryl’s paintings that have a ‘look’. She fills them with bold, clear designs that immediately cheer you up. Her description of the tango bar is very telling. She was uncomfortable when the bar was empty, except for a frenzied couple dancing, but when many more customers arrived she was happier, stopped laughing nervously, and ‘everything settled down’… When you look closely at her compositions you can see that everything in them, every movement, mass, look and shape is balanced or echoed, one by another, until the whole picture seems to dance together.”
Plymouth Auction Rooms are now inviting consignments for the May Art Auction.