Jean Cooke

I have fallen behind on my choice of paintings for the Director’s Cut of the Public Catalogue Foundation.   I wanted to include Jean Cooke’s self-portrait entitled Et jamais je ne pleure et jamais je ne ris (it’s a phrase from Baudelaire’s Fleurs du mal) because, when I arrived at the Royal Academy, she dominated the meetings of the General Assembly.   Extremely small, she had a squeaky voice.   Whatever she said was treated with awe.   She lived in a cold cottage in Birling Gap, had been married to John Bratby (of kitchen sink fame) and once drove a Morgan.

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Ⓒ Royal Academy of Arts

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