Beryl Bainbridge had an undisputed place as one of the finest British novelists of her era, famously being nominated five times for the Booker Prize. What was almost unknown during her lifetime, however, was that she was also a remarkable painter.
In 2011, a year after her death, the Nightingale Project presented the first ever exhibition of her work. When completing a novel, Bainbridge would often reach for a paintbrush and create a portrait inspired by the just-finished book – but not with the intention of exhibiting or selling the picture. The fact that she was not taking her work as a painter too seriously perhaps gave her a freedom in paint that is apparent in the quality of the pictures.Following this exhibition, there is another show of Beryl’s work in her home city, at the Museum of Liverpool, from December 2012 to 28 April 2013.