Born in 1931 in Cheshire, Cooke moved to the US as a teenager and studied Art History at Harvard University. He moved to Ireland in 1954 and had his first solo exhibition in Dublin the following year. Though he has been based in Ireland ever since, he is widely traveled and his richly expressionist, semi-abstract paintings have been strongly influenced by time spent in uch far-flung places as Lapland, New Zealand, Borneo and Malaysia. He has collaborated with a number of prominent poets including Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes. Though primarily a painter he produced a series of "bone boxes" out of Perspex in the 1970s. He has exhibited widely throughout Europe, the US and Canada.