Pembroke Fellow Dr Mark Wormald, who has closely studied how central Ted Hughes’ love of fishing was to his approach to poetry and life, first came across mention of Barrie Cooke in Hughes’s unpublished fishing diaries in the British Library.
This mention prompted Dr Wormald to visit Barrie Cooke in Ireland, which is when the existence of the archive, consisting of papers, poems and letters sent to the painter by a range of leading writers and artists, came to light. The most important of the papers are by two of Barrie Cooke’s closest friends, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) and Poet Laureate Ted Hughes (1930-1998; Pembroke 1951). Barrie Cooke produced 150 paintings, drawings and prints in response to his friends’ work, only a handful of which have ever been exhibited or published.
Pembroke’s announcement drew a range of media attention in Britain and Ireland, some of which is gathered here: