The Travelling Players

by PJ Crook


Crook was born in Cheltenham in 1945, where she still lives and works. Known for her paintings of crowds and people, Crook is prolific. PJ’s work is held in some of the world’s most prominent public and private collections and is considered in the highest echelons of British contemporary art.

DIMENSIONS: (framed) 150.0 x 106.0 cm/59.1 x 41.7 ins
SIGNATURE: Signed verso
MEDIUM: Acrylic on canvas

Catalogue No: 5929 Categories: ,

To ask PJ Crook what inspires her is to trigger an ebullient catalogue that includes travel, nature, food, the media, strangers, friends, and loved ones. In short, she takes inspiration from everything and everyone, and it is this fascination with life in all its complication and vibrancy that has led to the creation of her unique style; a sometimes playful, sometimes melancholy, yet always distinctive take on the world around her.

In part, her famously personal and stylised approach is thanks to her preference for working from memory and imagination over direct reference. PJ paints almost exclusively from her studio in the Cotswolds – a tranquil space that she says allows her to work without distraction. “I work from subconscious, and imagination, and observation,” she says. “I paint quite intuitively.”

Private collection, United Kingdom

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Crook was born in Cheltenham in 1945, where she still lives and works. Known for her paintings of crowds and people, Crook is prolific. PJ’s work is held in some of the world’s most prominent public and private collections and is considered in the highest echelons of British contemporary art. She is represented by the Panter & Hall gallery on Pall Mall in London and Galerie Alain Blondel in Paris.

From a studio opposite her house, she creates compositions on a monumental scale — paintings can measure 2 × 4.5 metres. She also paints small pictures, some no larger than 10cm square. She works in tinted gesso, acrylic and in oil on canvas, or on found materials such as a corrugated wood support. On paintings such as this one, the artist has chosen to continue the painting over the frame, playing with the concept of picture plane.

Crook’s paintings are often characterised by a dark crowded atmosphere; she fills the canvas with people, using a muddy palette. Some of these paintings have been used as covers for King Crimson’s recent albums since 1997, as well as various ProjeKcts covers, such as 2011’s ‘A Scarcity of Miracles’.

Crook is a Patron of the National Star College Cheltenham; a Patron of Linc; a Trustee and director of ACS (the Artists’ Collecting Society); Trustee of the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail Trust; Patron of Cheltenham Open Studios; a Gloucestershire Ambassador; President of the Friends of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum; member of the Royal West of England Academy; Manchester Academy of Fine Arts. She is a member of the Chelsea Arts Club and the Honourable Company of Gloucestershire. PJ Crook has an honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Gloucestershire and is an honorary vice President of Gloucestershire College. Crook was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to art.

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If the artwork is up to £25,00 in value, and the artist is still alive, Trinity House can arrange a 0% interest loan through the Own Art scheme. Own Art is a Creative United initiative supported by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Some other restrictions apply see…

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